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Shapovalov fined US$7,000 for launching ball that hit umpire in the face

Canada's Shapovalov fined US$7,000 by ITF

OTTAWA — Canadian tennis player Denis Shapovalov was fined US$7,000 by the International Tennis Federation on Monday for his on-court actions in a Davis Cup match against Britain a day earlier.

The 17-year-old from Richmond Hill, Ont., lost via default in the deciding match of the World Group first-round tie at TD Place after unintentionally striking chair umpire Arnaud Gabas in the eye with a ball. 

After firing a backhand wide to give up a break to Kyle Edmund early in the third set, Shapovalov pulled out the extra ball from his pocket and launched it in frustration. Gabas was struck near the left eye and referee Brian Earley declared an immediate default for unsportsmanlike conduct.

“Last night at my Davis Cup match I did something very unprofessional and inexcusable,” Shapovalov said Monday in a statement on Twitter. “In the heat of the moment after losing a game I lost the control of my emotions and hit the ball with an intention of hitting out of the court. Unfortunately and absolutely unintentionally I hit Mr. Arnaud Gabas, the chair umpire. There is no excuse for this behaviour and I take full responsibility for my action. I’m very sorry to Mr. Gabas to whom I apologized in person. Very sorry for letting my Davis Cup teammates down and for letting my country down.

“I apologize to all the tennis fans, to my supporters and my sponsors. I feel ashamed of my unprofessional behaviour and will accept any consequences as result of my action. I promise that I will learn from this and that this will not happen again. I hope you guys can forgive me.”

No further disciplinary action was expected, the ITF said Monday in a statement.

Gabas had swelling and bruising under his eye and was taken to Ottawa General Hospital. A precautionary evaluation did not find any damage to the cornea or retina.

Gabas will undergo further checks with his personal eye doctor on Tuesday in France, the ITF said.

Edmund was given a 6-3, 6-4, 2-1 victory as Britain advanced to the World Group quarter-finals with the 3-2 win. Canada will be forced to play a World Group playoff tie to keep its spot at the elite level for 2018.

The Canadian Press

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