Elliot Benchetrit Defends Asking Australian Open Ball Girl to Peel His Banana

Gill Clark@@gillclarkyFeatured Columnist IIJanuary 22, 2020

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - JANUARY 21:  Elliot Benchetrit of France reacts during his Men's Singles first round match against Yuichi Sugita of Japan on day two of the 2020 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on January 21, 2020 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)
Mark Kolbe/Getty Images

Elliot Benchetrit has defended asking a ball girl to peel his banana for him during his qualifying match against Dmitry Popko at the 2020 Australian Open.

The Frenchman told CNN (h/t Chris Bumbaca at USA Today) why he had made the request that saw him reprimanded by chair umpire John Blom.

"At 6-5 in the final set, during the changeover, I asked the ball girl to peel the banana for me as I had put some cream on my hands in order not to sweat. She had done it once before at the beginning of the match. But the second time the chair umpire stepped in and told me that the ball girl was not my slave and I had to peel the banana myself.

"I could not believe that the umpire said that and I find incredible how this situation got out of control on social media without people knowing what really happened on court."

Benchetrit came from a set down to win the match and secure a place in the main draw of the tournament was but was criticised for his actions.

Tennis legend Martina Navratilova backed the umpire's decision to intervene and called Benchetrit entitled:

Benchetrit has since been knocked out of the tournament in Melbourne. He was beaten in straight sets in the first round by Japan's Yuichi Sugita.

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