Martina Navratilova calls out umpire, lambasts 'bad sport' Amarissa Toth after horrific Zhang Shuai episode
Tennis legend Martina Navratilova criticised the controversial call by umpire and lambasted Amarissa Toth for poor sportsmanship at Budapest Open.
The tennis world is rocked with the scandal that occurred during the WTA’s Budapest Open on Tuesday, as Chinese player Shuai Zhang was forced to retire following a panic attack after a disastrous sequence of events. Zhang was put into a clearly emotional state as a combination of controversial officiating, questionable sportsmanship, and a hostile crowd overwhelmed her. Playing Hungarian Amarissa Toth, Zhang was plunged into controversy after the chair umpire made a howler of a decision while checking a ball mark on the clay court, and making an incorrect call.
Toth would add fuel to the fire by erasing the mark of the ball despite Zhang pleading with her not to, before celebrating after her opponent was forced to retire.
The tennis world has turned up arms against both Toth and the umpire, with many members on the WTA voicing their support of Zhang, one of the most well-liked players on the tour. Players such as Ons Jabeur, Ajla Tomljanovic, and Daria Gavrilova have tweeted in support of Zhang and called out Toth’s behaviour as unacceptable and disgraceful towards the sport.
The latest and most high-profile criticism of the player and chair umpire has now come from a legend of the game, Martina Navratilova. Navratilova, who is now a commentator and pundit, used her Twitter account to criticize both individuals involved.
Replying to a tweet by ESPN analyst Brad Gilbert, Navratilova did not hold back. The Czech-American wrote: “Pathetic from any angle- umpire is not fit to call clay court matches and Toth is a bad sport.”
Toth has rubbed fans and her colleagues alike the wrong way, and is facing criticism for her comments following the match as well, in which she implied that Zhang was “making trouble for herself”. A player ranked outside the WTA’s top 500, she has quickly become a target and a largely universally disliked player due to this being her most prominent event while on tour.