• Hugo Gaston was beaten on Tuesday by Slovakia's Alex Molcan (1-6, 6-7, 4-6), in the first round of Roland-Garros on court number 14.
  • During his post-match press conference, there was also talk of the gesture of anti-play made by the Toulouse during the last Masters 1000 in Madrid.
  • Hugo Gaston explained for the first time about this incident, which earned him a heavy penalty (72,000 euros) from the ATP.

At Roland-Garros,

Hugo Gaston is aware of going through "a complicated period". Despite the warm support of court number 14, the 22-year-old Toulouse did not recover at Roland-Garros, which he left in the first round, after his clear defeat (1-6, 6-7, 4-6) against Slovakian Alex Molcan. During his press conference in the aftermath, the one who has been trained for two months by former Moroccan player Younès El Aynaoui was quickly entitled to a question outside Roland-Garros. "Can we talk about the game before?" he immediately cut off. But a few minutes later, Hugo Gaston agreed to go back on his act of anti-play, on April 28 in the middle of the match against Borna Coric (3-6, 3-6), at the Masters 1000 in Madrid.

Just before the Croatian scored a winning smash, the left-hander deliberately dropped a ball from his pocket. The ATP perceived this episode as an act characterized by anti-play, with the aim of replaying this first set ball, which had ultimately not been decided by the referee. Now determined to severely punish acts of anti-play on the circuit, the ATP had initially sent Hugo Gaston a record fine of 142,000 euros. The penalty was then reduced on appeal to 72,000 euros, if no other offense is committed for twelve months by the young player, who has accumulated only 108,400 euros in prize money since the beginning of the year. This subject has necessarily occupied his thoughts for a few weeks.

Hugo Gaston taking a ball out of his pocket as Borna Coric is hitting an overhead to try to get the umpire to call a let #hugogaston #madridopen #bornacoric #gaston #fakelet 🙄#badsportsmanship #tennis #coric #unsportsmanlikeconduct #atp pic.twitter.com/BaHjlUrFUx

— Roberto (@rrrobertooo) May 23, 2023

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How did you get through this month of May, where it was mainly about your gesture sanctioned by the ATP with a record fine?

I already want to clarify the situation. I did not express myself on the networks because I expected a question on it at one point. A lot of people said I wanted to cheat. It's not true. Every tennis player has gestures that he does not control. It was a gesture of frustration at the end of the first set. There have been repeat fines for me but never for something like that. These are things that do not represent me. I apologized to my opponent but also to the Federation because it helps me on a daily basis. The match went very well after that, without any problems. At the time, the referee had not seen it. I recognize that it was not right, that it is not being done. But it was 100% a gesture of frustration, not a gesture of cheating. At no time would I have replayed the point. It's part of life, we don't always react correctly. I made a mistake, I paid, that's how it is.

This amount of 72,000 euros surprised many on the circuit. French players like Corentin Moutet and Benoît Paire have been offended in recent days at Roland-Garros...

I am the main one concerned, so inevitably, I am not going to say that this amount is not enough. I think it's excessive but we don't control it. It was not the first time for me, I took some fines at the beginning of the year and the ATP increases them to make us understand... I understood a lot of things and it will make me grow. When you see that over a year, Challenger players do not necessarily win what I took on this fine, it's complicated.

Do you feel like a sword of Damocles hanging over you now? Do you regret not being able to let go as you would like to do on the court, for fear of another big penalty?

No, I'm not someone who gets angry quickly and takes warnings every game. I may have taken three warnings this year and all three have cost me dearly. There are inevitably times when I will want to break a racket but I will have to hold back, otherwise it will be expensive (smile). I'm going to have to be careful. But I have no worries about that because I know what I'm worth, what I stand for. Everyone who knows me also knows who I am and where I come from.

  • Roland-Garros 2023
  • Tennis
  • Sport
  • Hugo Gaston
  • ATP