Russian tennis player Olga Puchkova was defaulted from her match on Thursday after she hit a line judge in the knee with a ball. The incident happened after Puchkova lost a point.
The default forced the player to forfeit against Paula Ormaechea of Argentina while she was trailing at the Citi Open. The player released a statement by way of the tournament explaining that she was “sincerely sorry” for hitting the official and that it was an accident.
Puchkova added that she apologized to the line judge, reports USA Today. She explained, “I wasn’t looking where the tennis ball would go.”
WTA supervisor Melanie Tabb added that, while Puchkova insisted the hit was an accident, the tennis rules required her to be defaulted for the incident. Tabb explained, “I 100 percent believe her that that’s true — that she didn’t mean to do it.”
However, intention isn’t the only thing that matters when expressing your frustration by hitting the ball when you aren’t supposed to. And Olga Puchkova hit the tennis ball hard enough to leave a bruise on the line judge’s knee.
Following the hit, The Huffington Post notes that the match’s chair umpire, Carrie Hinueber, cited the Russian player for a code violation. She requested Tabb to go to the court for a ruling.
After speaking with Puchkova, Hinueber, and the line judges present, Tabb ruled to default the player. Tabb added that, while Olga didn’t mean to hit the judge, “it happened.” She went on to say, “Clearly, you hit someone with a ball, that’s pretty much a default situation.”
Before she was defaulted, Puchkova upset second-seeded Sloane Stephens of the United States 7-5, 6-3 in the first round on Monday. Last week’s tournament served as a warm-up for the US Open. Unfortunately, Olga Puchkova’s decision in a moment of frustration cost her the ability to compete.