Elliot Benchetrit, ranked 231st, defends asking ball girl to peel banana during Australian Open match

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Elliot Benchetrit of France did not make it past the first round of the main draw. (Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)
Elliot Benchetrit of France did not make it past the first round of the main draw. (Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

Elliot Benchetrit found himself in a social media frenzy of his own making involving a banana and the Australian Open that he had to clear up this week.

Benchetrit, a 21-year-old Frenchman, became the target of criticism when he was caught on video asking a ball girl to peel a banana for him during qualifying. The moment was heightened when John Blom, the chair umpire, reprimanded the player and told him the girl was “not your slave.”

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Benchetrit’s hands were heavily bandaged due to blisters, hence his ask, so when the umpire told him to do it himself he used his teeth.

Benchetrit was blasted for being lazy and entitled, so Tuesday the No. 231 ranked player in the world explained himself. Via CNN:

“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," he said.

"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 qualified for the main draw, but was quickly ousted. He lost in straight sets 6-2, 6-0, 6-3 to Japan's Yuichi Sugita in the first round.

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