The disqualification of Miyu Kato and Aldiha Sutjiadi at the 2023 French Open created huge controversy among tennis fans and one name that was brought up was Roger Federer.
The game was at 7-6(1), 1-3 when Kato hit a ball girl with the ball. It was their third-round match when the pair was up against Marie Buzkova and Sara Sorribes Tormo at the women’s doubles match at the 2023 French Open.
Regardless of if this was the right call or not, and— Ben Rothenberg (@BenRothenberg) June 4, 2023
I don't think it was, players can afford to be more careful with this stuff, anyhow.
Roger Federer, notably, often played with fire by zipping balls at ball boys in Australia to test their cricket catches.
Mixed results. pic.twitter.com/qqiKpfpf3z
The incident led to the umpire giving her a warning initially but soon advanced into disqualifying the Japanese pair upon protest by their opponents. Following this, they lost all the ranking points and the prize money collected till their third round progress.
However, the umpire’s decision was not well taken by the tennis community as Kato did not hit the ball that hurt and even apologized to the girl later.
Some fans recalled past instances of when Roger Federer hit a ball kid and did not get disqualified. Tennis journalist Ben Rothenberg posted about Federer saying that the Swiss often returned the ball to the ball kid at a high speed.
Fans picked some more incidents of Roger Federer involved in hitting a ball kid. One such incident is from the 2014 Monte Carlo Open when Roger Federer was playing against Novak Djokovic in the semifinal and hit a ball boy standing on the net. They pointed out that no action was taken against Federer, instead everyone just laughed it off.
This is one of the most dumbest decisions I've seen not just in tennis but in sport!!— Reggie🐺🐊 (@Reggie61823972) June 4, 2023
No malice or harm intended, a pure accident & they get defaulted. If the ball kid caught the ball there would have been a round of applause!!
Federer hit a ball kid & it was laughed off🤷🏽♂️🙈 https://t.co/aQfiLiHZXP
It’s unfortunate that Kato & Sutjiadi were defaulted. Ball kids do need to be protected but the action didn’t warrant a default. Federer did the same thing and wasn’t penalized. Bouzkova and SST pushing for the default is disappointing and uncalled for pic.twitter.com/umWFKx6668— High on Tennis (@atennishigh) June 4, 2023
‘At heart, I am always going to be a ball boy’ – Roger Federer
In an interview, Roger Federer recalled his days as a ball boy at the Swiss Indoors in Basel and cherished the memories with a smile.
He was a ball boy at the 1993 Swiss Indoors in Basel. A video of him during the competition resurfaced on social media. Back in 2018, Federer spoke to TennisTV and shared his experience as a ball boy and receiving a medal along with other kids from tournament director Michael Stich.
Federer said that he still has the medal he received as a ballboy and feels that he is still a ballboy at heart.
I still have them, and I still get today, from ball girls and ball boys, and I have pizza with them at the end of the tournament. They also give me a medal. I guess it means I’m still a ball boy too because at heart, I will always be a ball boy.-Roger Federer in an interview
"At heart, I am always going to be a ball boy" – Roger Federer ❤️ pic.twitter.com/YjfUB8ypDC— Luigi Gatto (@gigicat7_) September 15, 2022