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Irina-Camelia Begu apologizes after bouncing racket hits kid

Oct 10, 2021; Indian Wells, CA, USA; Irina-Camelia Begu (ROU) hits a shot against Shelby Rogers (USA) at Indian Wells Tennis Garden. Mandatory Credit: Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

Romania’s Irina-Camelia Begu apologized Thursday after tossing her tennis racket in frustration and having it hit a child in the crowd during her French Open match in Paris.

Begu was near the bench area during the third game of the third set against Ekaterina Alexandrova of Russia when she tossed the racket downward on the clay surface. The racket took a big hop and struck a child sitting close to the court.

Begu checked on the youngster before play resumed and she went on to a 6-7 (3), 6-3, 6-4 victory over the 30th-seeded Alexandrova.

The 31-year-old Begu received a code violation for unsportsmanlike conduct.

“It’s an embarrassing moment for me, so I don’t want to talk too much about it,” Begu said afterward. “I just want to apologize. My whole career I didn’t do something like this, and I feel really bad and sorry.

“So I’m just going to say again, sorry for the incident and, yeah, it was just an embarrassing moment for me. You hit the clay with the racket, but you never expect it to fly that much.”

After winning the match, Begu went over to interact with the child. The pair hugged and she posed for a picture with the child. Then she went back to her bench seat and appeared to be sobbing into a towel.

Alexandrova was upset that Begu wasn’t disqualified from the match and she sharply criticized the situation at Roland Garros later on her Instagram account.

“So disappointed to leave RG like that, I was trying to do my best, but seems like the rules were against me today,” Alexandrova said. “This shouldn’t be happening. I hope after today’s match rules will be improved for everyone’s safety.

“We are responsible for our racket.”

Begu will face France’s Leolia Jeanjean in the third round.

–Field Level Media