Europe 1 with AFP / Photo credit: CLIVE BRUNSKILL / GETTY IMAGES EUROPE / Getty Images via AFP 19:53 p.m., May 30, 2023

A week after his bad gesture sanctioned in Madrid with a heavy fine by the ATP, the Frenchman Hugo Gaston has justified himself. He had dropped a ball from his pocket on the court to replay a set ball which had not been to the taste of the institution. The tennis player believes that he did not want to cheat deliberately.

"In no way was it a cheating gesture. It was a gesture of frustration," Hugo Gaston said Tuesday in the wake of his defeat at Roland-Garros, a week after being sanctioned by the ATP with a heavy fine for "unsportsmanlike conduct". The Frenchman had dropped a ball from his pocket on the court to replay a set ball that his opponent, Borna Coric, would win in the second round of the Masters 1000 in Madrid, finally won by the Croatian 6-3, 6-3.

Since Gaston was a repeat offender, the ATP fined him 144,000 euros, reduced to 72,000 euros provided that the 22-year-old left-hander did not commit any other offense for twelve months. "A lot of people said I wanted to cheat, which is not true," Gaston said after losing in the first round at the France Open to Slovakia's Alex Molcan 6-1, 7-6 (7/4), 6-3.

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"Things that don't get done"

"Every tennis player has gestures that he does not control, (...) In no way was it a cheating gesture. It was a 100% gesture of frustration, he said. There have been recidivisms about the fact that I have taken fines, but never something like that because these are things that do not represent me. I apologized to my opponent." The native of Toulouse, 109th in the ATP rankings, continued his mea culpa: "These are things that are not done. I also apologized to the Federation who help me on a daily basis."

Several French players have reacted to this case, questioned about it Porte d'Auteuil. "It's not a gesture you want to see on the pitch. Everyone is human, (...) makes mistakes, whether in our job or in life, said Corentin Moutet on Sunday. Unfortunately, he has a camera pointed at him on the field." "His gesture, obviously it's normal that he was punished, but at this amount, I find it very exaggerated," he continued.

"For me, it's ridiculous," Benoît Paire said Monday. There are even Challenger players, we take that from them, in this case, they stop their career to simply... whereas he took maybe $2,000 from the tournament." "I have a hard time understanding this system, why they do this. You have to do it according to what you earn. You can't take more money than the player is going to earn. Otherwise, what's the point of playing tennis?" asked the 34-year-old, known for his misconduct on the court.