Denis Shapovalov apologises for his Davis Cup aberration

Denis Shapovalov has been fined $7,000 (£5,623) by the International Tennis Federation for his reckless actions '¨in Great Britain's Davis Cup victory over Canada.

French umpire Arnaud Gabas holds his face after being struck by a ball hit by Denis Shapovalov. Picture: AP.
French umpire Arnaud Gabas holds his face after being struck by a ball hit by Denis Shapovalov. Picture: AP.

The 17-year-old Canadian smashed a ball in anger during the third set of the deciding rubber against Kyle Edmund, hitting umpire Arnaud Gabas in the eye, and was immediately defaulted.

Shapovalov could have been fined up to a maximum of $12,000 on site by referee 
Brian Earley but the unintentional nature of the offence and his remorse will have been taken into account.

The ITF could take further action, imposing a larger fine or even a ban, but a spokesman for the governing body said last night that no additional punishment is anticipated.

Gabas was taken to Ottawa General Hospital as a precaution but no damage to the cornea or retina was found. He will see his personal eye 
doctor in France today for a further examination.


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It will undoubtedly be a big lesson for Shapovalov, pictured inset, the reigning Wimbledon junior champion and one of the brightest young 
talents in the game.

He immediately apologised to Gabas and then sat with his head in his hands while the umpire composed himself sufficiently to announce the end of the match, sending Britain through to an away quarter-final against France in April.

“I feel incredibly ashamed and embarrassed and I just feel awful for letting my team down, for letting my country down, for acting in a way that I would never want to act,” said an emotional Shapovalov.

‘’I can promise that’s the last time I will do anything like that. I’m going to learn from this and try to move past it.’’


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The force with which Shapovalov hit the ball was extraordinary – had it missed the umpire it may well have hit someone in the crowd – but it is not the first time in recent months a player has pushed the limits.

Novak Djokovic may well have been defaulted from the French Open last year had a line judge not moved swiftly to dodge a racket he bounced off the court in anger.

Andy Murray, meanwhile, kicked a ball in frustration during a match in Cincinnati last summer that nearly hit the umpire.

Canada captain Martin Laurendeau admitted players tread a fine line.


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He said: “The codes are out there, it’s up to the officials to implement abuse of balls, abuse of rackets.

“There’s grey lines. You can smack a ball between line judges and if you don’t hit anyone you’re okay, you can continue, but if you hit his leg or an arm then it’s an automatic default.”

The Shapovalov incident almost certainly did not change the outcome of the tie, with Edmund leading 6-3, 6-4 2-1 and seemingly on his way to a comfortable victory.

Both Britain’s last two victories in the competition have come without Murray, demonstrating the much- improved strength in depth at the highest level. Captain Leon Smith insisted he had no clue yet whether Murray would return for the France tie, where the worldNo 1 will surely be needed if Britain are to stand a chance of making further progress.