For Pete's Sake

In fit of anger, tennis player hits ball into face of umpire

Even a tennis novice knows you can’t do that.

Great Britain won its Davis Cup World Group first-round match against Canada on Sunday and, well, this tweet explains it:

Don’t know that I’ve seen that. A match was defaulted “after hitting the umpire with a ball.”

Here is what happened. Canada’s Denis Shapovalov was upset that he hit a shot wide of the mark. Shapovalov was mad at himself and smashed a tennis ball in anger. Unfortunately, the ball hit umpire Arnaud Gabas in the face.

That was a sickening thud when the ball struck Gabas. Although it was clearly an accident, Shapovalov was disqualified. The Davis Cup said that Gabas had swelling around his left eye and was taken to the hospital as a precaution.

Shapovalov issued an apology via Twitter.

“Last night at my Davis Cup match I did something very unprofessional and inexcusable. 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,” Shapovalov wrote. “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 apologised in person. Very sorry for letting my Davis Cup teammates down and for letting my country down. I apologise 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.”

The International Tennis Federation fined Shapovalov $7,000.

A couple of professional tennis players sent their support for Shapovalov:

Pete Grathoff: 816-234-4330, @pgrathoff