Sara Sorribes calls on Miyu Kato to take responsibility and stop blaming her rivals
NEW YORK – A ball hitting the neck of a ball girl, a disqualification and a story that keeps haunting Spain’s Sara Sorribes from time to time.
“It’s hard to see how a person who has made a mistake doesn’t want to assume her responsability,” said the Spaniard who as of Monday, September 11tth, will be her country’s number one in the WTA rankings.
Sorribes is referring to Japan’s Miyu Kato and the scenes that were trendig topic in the last edition of Roland Garros during the third round of the women’s draw. A confusing incident that was triggered when Kato threw a ball at medium speed to the other side of the court, which accidentally hit straight into the neck of a girl ball girl. The girl burst into tears, while Sorribes and her partner Marie Bouzková protested to the chair umpire. Kato and her partner Aldila Sutjiadi were disqualified.
The Japanese has since stressed her innocence. Sorribes believes that once and for all she has to assume her fault. The truth is that the episode went viral on the internet, and Sorribes and Bouzková received criticism from all sides, including from players on the tour.
“It was very complicated. It is to this day, when things still come out. I am very calm, Marie is calm. The only thing she does is to say it’s our fault when it’s not our fault. She was the one who hit the ball,” she told CLAY in one of the small conference rooms at the US Open in front of the Spanish-speaking media after her 6-4, 7-5 win over Anhelina Kalinina in the first round of the last Grand Slam of the year.
In New York, Sorribes tells her version of the story: “The images, those who wanted to show them well, did well, others showed them in slow motion, which I think does not make justice. She hit her from far away, she hit her here (pointing to the neck), the girl cried, the referee asked us what had happened, because he had not seen it. We told him she was crying and that she had hit her with a ball. The reality”.
From the scene of the initial events in Paris, the journey is to Berlin, when in June, CLAY spoke to the Asian player who revealed what the French Tennis Federation and ITF officials told her after her disqualification.
“The umpire and the supervisor talked to me afterwards and said, ‘If the ballkid was a boy, it would have been ok.’ They also explained to me that since the girl cried for more than 15 minutes they had to make a decision, because if she had stopped after five minutes, everything would have been allright; or if the ball had hit her legs or arms, everything would have been okay. But no, because it was in the neck it was different,” she said in Germany, during the Berlin WTA.
“I just returned the ball to the other side of the court for my opponents to serve,” Kato said.
In New York, Sorribes assures that the treatment towards her in the locker room never changed despite the fact that several tennis players spoke publicly about the issue supporting Kato.
“In the locker room they treat me the same way. I think I’ve had a very good reception since my return from injury, something that even surprised me, and all those people who told me that they were very happy that I was back. And regarding Paris, I even had players telling me: ‘Sara, this is not the first time this could have happened to this player’. It’s the first time she hits someone, but it’s not the first time she’s done it. There are videos. You have to accept it, you can’t spend your whole life throwing your hands up in the air. I understand that cultures are different…” she added.
More darts were against the duo when images of them laughing while Kato was arguing with the chair umpire about her disqualification. Sorribes clarified that her laughter had nothing to do with her rival’s drama.
“And when I sit down and start laughing it’s because I talk to Marie in Spanish. She speaks very well, but she says a lot of words that don’t exist, so she said a couple of non-existent words, and I with all the tension I laughed. But nothing to do with the party, nothing to do with them and even less with the situation they were living. So beyond that, I think that people who know us and see us day by day have a totally different opinion, but first she has to accept it”.