Britain's Andy Murray joined the chorus of support for compatriot Naomi Broady after her bad-tempered win over Latvian Jelena Ostapenko – but could not match her success when he returned to action on Wednesday.
World No122 Broady progressed to round three of the ASB Classic in Auckland with a 4-6, 7-6 (7-4), 7-5 win, although the victory will likely be better remembered for Ostapenko’s combustible behaviour.
Broady demanded, without success, that her opponent be disqualified after she appeared to deliberately let go of her racket, which then hit a ball-boy, in frustration at losing a point.
The Englishwoman regained her composure to complete a comeback triumph, upon which Ostapenko – ranked 38 places above Broady – reignited their dispute by scolding her for complaining to the umpire.
“Jelena commented that my behaviour was terrible, which I thought was a bit out of order considering the events that had gone on in the match,” said the 25-year-old from Stockport.
Tennis players Alize Cornet, Kristina Mladenovic, Julia Glushko and Elena Vesnina sent Broady messages of support on social media, while Murray also backed his fellow Briton.
“What a great start to the year for Naomi Broady,” he wrote on Twitter, referencing her win over former world No1 Ana Ivanovic on Tuesday. “One of the nicest women you will meet! Totally right to stick up for yourself today too!”
Players risk disqualification and fines of more than £6,000 if they physically abuse officials, opponents or spectators. Ostapenko argued that she had not meant to throw her racket and escaped with a warning.
Murray, meanwhile, and Heather Watson suffered defeat at the Hopman Cup as their Great Britain pairing lost 2-1 to the Australian duo of Nick Kyrgios and Daria Gavrilova.
They succumbed 11-9 in a tie-break to settle a decisive mixed doubles clash after Kyrgios had earned a first career win over Murray and Watson fought back to overcome Gavrilova.
The result means Britain will likely have to beat Germany heavily tomorrow and hope that Kyrgios and Gavrilova suffer an emphatic defeat in their contest with France in order to reach Saturday’s final.