The prefectural government of Kyoto has said it will confer a special honor reserved for athletes on tennis player Miyu Kato in recognition of her winning the mixed doubles at the French Open.
The win by the 28-year-old native of Sakyo Ward, Kyoto city, marks the second straight victory by a Japanese player in the same category at one of the world's four most prominent tennis tournaments.
Kato and her partner had earlier been defaulted during their women's doubles third-round match after a ball she hit cross-court struck a ball girl and was deemed to be dangerous. However, a chorus of support for the Japanese player grew internationally, with many people saying the default was too severe a punishment for what was an accident.
Kato "secured the hard-fought win after overcoming the unfortunate accident," Kyoto Gov. Takatoshi Nishiwaki said. "While the opponents (who appealed for Kato and her partner to be defaulted) have been a target of much bashing, she had warm words for them too. She really deserves praise."