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Officialdom Gone Mad, Or Tennis Petulance That Deserved A Ban?

It's not like Maria Vittoria Viviani meant to slam a ball at a ball kid.

24/01/2017 9:14 AM AEDT | Updated 24/01/2017 10:14 AM AEDT
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She immediately held out her hand as if to say 'sorry, I meant no harm'.

The story so far. Junior Italian tennis player Maria Vittoria Viviani was disqualified from the Australian Open earlier this week for hitting ball at a ballkid.

As you can see, it's not like she deliberately targeted said ball kid. She didn't exactly slam the ball in his direction or anything.

What appears to be the case is that she was mildly frustrated after losing a point against her Chinese opponent in the junior Australian Open, and gentle paddled the ball away to the side of the court. Where it accidentally hit a ballkid. Pretty softly.

Vengeance from on high was swift. Viviani was disqualified and did not finish the match. This was a heartbreaking situation for a 17-year-old whose trip to play just her second junior Grand Slam tournament was three months in the planning.

Michael Chammas, Fairfax Media
We're pretty sure she's no Nick Kyrgios, temperament-wise

The teenager opened up to Fairfax Media overnight, in a top little piece of reporting by Michael Chammas. Here's some of what she said:

"I'm still shocked. Yesterday was a very, very bad day for me because no one can feel good about this situation.

"It was hard for me. I was crying after for one hour and a half non-stop. I was crying so much. I know, and all the people who know me, they know I did nothing wrong.

"The kid was moving and I hit him. I said sorry immediately because I saw him but he was OK. He was standing with the balls in his hands waiting for the match to start again."

Viviani was also disqualified from the doubles tournament, and will earn no ranking points in either the singles or doubles despite having won some matches. So all in all, a bit of a bummer of a trip.

"I'm OK with myself because I know I did nothing. This helped make me a little bit better," she said, trying to see the bright side.

If you'd like to get to know her a bit better, here's an interview Viviani gave to Italian media before this year's Open.

Meanwhile, the tennisphere, Twittersphere and several other spheres are more or less unanimous that punishment has been a little over the top here.

As yet there's no official statement from The Australian Open.

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