When Ryan Harrison says he didn't mean to throw his racquet in the direction of a ball boy, he's telling the truth. When he says he didn't mean to throw his racquet at all, well, then we are getting into parsing, technicalities and what the definition of "throw" is.
The young American had just failed to convert two set points on his serve against France's Gilles Simon in a first-round match at the French Open. When he ended up getting broken to lose the game, Harrison flipped his racquet backward in frustration. It happened to land near a ball boy who was running onto the court.
"How is that racquet abuse?" Harrison asked the chair. The camera cut away before the rest of his statement, but Sports Illustrated's Bryan Graham heard the whole thing. "The racket slid," Harrison said. "I don't give a [expletive]. That isn't racket abuse."
While the announcers on the feed above seemed to agree, an unlikely source countered Harrison's argument. On The Tennis Channel, John McEnroe, of all people, said Harrison deserved the warning. He says a thrown racquet that nearly comes in contact with a linesman, umpire, ball kid or fan is a hazard, no matter the intent.
About 30 minutes later, Simon did the same exact thing with his racquet. He also received a warning yet passed on the "it slipped" defense.
Harrison and Simon split the first two sets of their first-round match before Simon pulled out the win in the fourth set.
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