Aussie wildcard Chris O’Connell has been praised for his sportsmanship following a classy act at the Australia Open on Thursday.
O’Connell was ahead against 13th seed Diego Schwartzman and on track for one of the biggest wins of his career when he corrected the chair umpire and conceded a point.
After taking the first set 7-6, O’Connell appeared to make it 3-3 in the second set when Schwartzman hit a backhand return wide.
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That prompted Schwartzman to immediately interject: “No, no, no, he touched it, he touched it.”
The umpire then asked O’Connell if the ball had clipped his racquet before it went out and he confirmed it had, so the point was given to Schwartzman.
“Mr O’Connell has confirmed he has touched the ball, good sportsmanship, therefore Mr Schwartzman wins the point,” the umpire announced to the crowd on Court 3.
Former Australian players Casey Dellacqua then praised the moment in commentary.
“Beautiful. We expect nothing less from our Australian athletes – to show great sportsmanship,” she said.
“What happened was O’Connell came to the net and touched the ball, therefore it is Schwartzman’s point.
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“Umpire didn’t hear it, O’Connell owning up, which is great to see.
It didn’t impact the set however, with O’Connell closing it out the set 6-4.
O’Connell is now up a break in the third set and will earn at least $221,000 if he makes it the third round.
The 27-year-old made his professional debut in 2011 and his career earnings heading into the Australian Open were just over $1 million.
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