Tennis: Petkovic says sorry for comments about Chinese fans at Wuhan Open

BEIJING (AFP) - Germany's Andrea Petkovic apologised on Monday after she caused a furore by criticising the behaviour of Chinese fans at last week's Wuhan Open.

As an umpire tried to rein in spectators, an irritated Petkovic advised: "Say it in Chinese, not in English. The English (speaking) people know how to behave."

Footage of the incident quickly did the rounds on social media, with some contributors accusing her of racism.

But on Monday, Petkovic insisted she did not mean to be rude.

"I didn't mean it in general. I meant on tennis courts," she said. "I think that's not a thing that is surprising because I wouldn't know how to behave in, let's say, a badminton match or a table tennis match because we don't have it in Germany that much.

"And I think tennis is a new kind of sport in China. In Beijing, the tournament has been here for a very long time and you can really see the difference between Wuhan and Beijing."

Chinese fans have sometimes taken time to learn the etiquette required at the top-level sports events arriving in their country, with complaints also heard at golf and snooker tournaments.