Atmane apologizes for hitting French Open spectator with ball

PARIS — French tennis player Terence Atmane apologized on Tuesday for hitting a spectator with a ball at the French Open.

Atmane angrily struck a ball and accidentally hit the female spectator in the leg on Sunday. He wasn’t disqualified but received a warning for unsportsmanlike conduct. Atmane lost the first-round match to Sebastian Ofner in five sets.

“This gesture was not intentional. Please forgive me for my emotional outburst,” he said on Tuesday on Instagram. He explained that a broken string led to the ball flying into the stands and admitted to being too shocked to react immediately.

Atmane emphasized his desire to apologize personally to the spectator.

Atmane was not disqualified because the spectator said she was fine, tournament referee Remy Azemar told French sports newspaper L’Equipe. He added Atmane will get a “significant fine.”

Not disqualifying Atmane sparked debate at Roland Garros. Players were disqualified for similar actions in the past. At last year’s French Open, Miyu Kato and her doubles partner were forced to forfeit a match when Kato accidentally hit a ball girl in the neck with a ball.

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