French Open 2023: Miyu Kato Triumphs in Mixed Doubles After Disqualification from Women’s Event
Miyu Kato of Japan emerged victorious in the mixed doubles final at the French Open, just four days after her controversial disqualification from the women’s singles event for accidentally hitting a ball girl with a ball.
Teaming up with Germany’s Tim Puetz, Kato overcame the pairing of Bianca Andreescu from Canada and Michael Venus from New Zealand with a hard-fought 4-6, 6-4, 10-6 victory.
Expressing his support, Puetz acknowledged the challenging circumstances Kato faced, saying, “I hope this serves as redemption for you after what happened.”
In an emotionally charged statement, Kato, visibly moved, expressed her gratitude to her coach and Puetz, stating, “It has been mentally demanding for me over the past few days following the unjust disqualification from the women’s doubles. I want to thank my coach for always being there for me during tough times, and Tim, I’m grateful to have you as my partner. Thank you for your unwavering support and encouragement.”
Kato also extended her appreciation to fellow players, coaches, and fans for their heartfelt messages of support, which she found empowering throughout her journey.
The disqualification incident occurred during the women’s doubles round of 16 match, where Kato and her partner, Aldila Sutjiadi of Indonesia, were trailing 7-6 (7-1), 1-3 against the Czech Republic’s Marie Bouzkova and Spain’s Sara Sorribes Tormo. Kato unintentionally struck the ball girl’s shoulder with a cross-court shot, visibly distressing her.
Initially given a warning by the umpire, Kato and Sutjiadi were subsequently disqualified following protests from their opponents. Kato, who promptly apologized to the ball girl, suffered financial penalties and a loss of ranking points.
After securing her first Grand Slam title in the mixed doubles, Kato commented, “While it was unfortunate to be disqualified, I will continue striving to return and compete in the women’s doubles final one day. I sincerely hope the ball girl is doing well.”
Addressing her opponents in the women’s doubles, Sara and Marie, Kato expressed her desire for a future rematch, saying, “I hope we have the opportunity to face each other again and deliver an exceptional match.”
Concluding her statement, Kato acknowledged the unfavorable decision of her disqualification by Roland Garros, but expressed optimism regarding the outcome of her appeal, as she aims to reclaim her points and prize money.
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