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When a player hates the court, fears injuries and hopes the tournament dissapears: “This is not tennis”

Roberto Carballés
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SANTIAGO, Chile – Roberto Carballés Baena did not hide his frustration after losing in the first round of the Chile Open. “What do you want me to tell you, that the tournament is shit? That on the court you can’t play?” he told CLAY as he walked very sad, upset and angry towards the locker room.

“I think it’s a shame that an ATP is played on this court, I think it’s dangerous for the players. Hopefully this tournament will never be held again,” added the 30-year-old tennis player.

The Spaniard lost to Corentin Moutet in a match full of drama that ended after 1:30 in the morning. A lot happened in the stadium: court in terrible condition, arguments with the referee after controversial callings and a point penalty for Carballés in the last game of the match that ended in a 6-3, 5-7 and 6-2 in Santiago.

“This is not tennis, in the end this becomes the tombola. With fear all the time to get injured and with terrible bounces… and sometimes the ball doesn’t even bounce! I did feel that I could get injured. Every time I was forced I was afraid to tighten my leg because it was sinking all the time. In fact I ended up with discomfort in my back,” Carballés told CLAY. The Spaniard called the physiotherapist when the match was almost over.

The main court of the ATP 250 in Santiago, recently named after Chilean tennis legend Jaime Fillol, was not sufficiently compact and became more uneven after each point.. In several points of the match the rally ended with the ball “dead” by the bad quality of the court in certain spots. The Spaniard suffered from start to finish with the conditions. He told his team with obvious frustration just after kicking the towel box at the edge of the court: “I’m being beaten by a guy who plays me slices in the middle. I’m embarrassing. I can’t take it anymore. I’m tired, I don’t know what to do.”

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Roberto Carballés
Roberto Carballés Baena during the first round of the Chile Open // MATÍAS DONOSO- ALTA COMUNICACIONES

His team claimed that the Frenchman “stole” a point when, according to the umpire, the left-handed was forced to put back a drop shot from the Spaniard, and then “tried to steal” again by confusing the umpire with different ball marks in an important point.

Carballés Baena received a warning for sending a couple of balls outside the stadium when the Frenchman broke him for the second time in the third set. Then, in the change of side he unloaded his anger with the court and increased the damage of the ground by hitting with his racquet several times. The umpire applied the rules and after a second warning, Carballés received a point penalty.

Moutet played an intelligent game and used excessively the resource of the slice, taking advantage of the conditions of the clay. The Frenchman, who had not won an ATP match since September 2023, did not complain about the surface. Post match he shared different impressions to those of his Spanish rival.

Corentin Moutet ganó su primer partido ATP desde septiembre // MATÍAS DONOSO - CHILE OPEN
Corentin Moutet won his first ATP match since September // MATÍAS DONOSO – CHILE OPEN

“It’s not the best court in the world, but I come from playing Futures. I remember when I started playing tennis at the age of seven. There the courts were much worse, no crowds, no money, no new balls. The conditions here are good. Sometimes we forget that we are lucky to be here. I am honest: the court is not the best, but it is the same for both players and we have to give our best,” said Moutet, who made his show throwing his racquets and celebrating points in several languages.

The few spectators who stayed to watch tennis on a Monday night at the foot of the Andes Mountains witnessed a cult match.

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COVER PHOTO – Roberto Carballés Baena, angry with the court during Chile Open  // SEBASTIÁN VARELA with a Motorola Edge 40-neo

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