Picture Credit: Twitter

Picture Credit: Twitter

French player Hugo Gaston is facing strong backlash from tennis fans over his lack of sportsmanship in a recent game against Argentina’s Marco Trungelliti in Verona Challenger. The game, which took place on Tuesday, ended when Gaston retired just one point away from defeat. Fans were disappointed that Gaston decided to retire the game on match point instead of letting his opponent Trungelliti enjoy his legitimate win instead of being awarded a walkover victory when nearly all three sets had been played.

The backlash against Gaston was so severe that some were even calling to have the 22-year-old kicked off the ATP tour. Tennis is a sport that values sportsmanship, tradition and class, and fans felt that Gaston was standing at odds with all three with not only this new issue but also other incidents in the past. 

The former Australian Open winner actually won his first set against Trungelliti 6-3 but lost all momentum in the game when Trungelliti came back strong to win the second set 6-2. In the final set, the Argentine was up 5-2 before Gaston retired the match and it was a walkover victory. The Frenchman walked over to the net and shook Trungelliti’s hand who then lifted his arms up to cheer his victory. 

Second issue for Gaston in a single year

The current world ranked no. 92 has been in hot water with tennis fans before, particularly during a game against Borna Coric in April at the Madrid Open. Gaston lost the game 6-3, 6-3, but the major talking point was his decision to drop a tennis ball onto the court as his opponent Coric was lining up to take a serve. 

While on set point, and preparing to smash a serve, the tennis ball was dropped onto the court. Gaston had been carrying a spare in his pocket. According to tennis rules, the play should be called a let. This is because there was another tennis ball on the court, but in this case Gaston’s plan didn’t work and the winner was awarded to Coric. In a bit of further karmic justice, Gaston was fined GBP 63,000 by the ATP as it was already his fourth unsportsmanlike incident that season.

The Frenchman is certainly not making many fans with his behaviour on the court and might receive more fines in the future if he doesn’t curb his behaviour. According to the ATP, the fines go up 100% with each sportsmanship related infraction, meaning future fines could be a lot more expensive for the player.