Denis Shapovalov Hits Chair Umpire In Face With Ball, Gets Disqualified [Video]
by Tom Gainey | February 5th, 2017, 5:55 pm

“It’s the worst nightmare,” the commentator on TV said. And it was. 17-year-old Denis Shapovalov was trying to get his Canadian team into the quarterfinals of the Davis Cup against Great Britain earlier today when things took a horrible turn.

Down two sets and in deep trouble after getting broken in the deciding rubber against Kyle Edmund, Shapovalov smacked a ball in frustration except this one found the face of the chair umpire Arnaud Gabas. Ouch!

The result: An immediate disqualification and it was game, set, match to Edmund 63, 64, 21, def and the tie to Great Britain 3-2. What a heartbreaking way to lose, especially in front of your home fans in Ottawa.

The ITF later announced Shapovolov would be fined $7,000 (USD) for the offense.

“Shapovalov did not intend to hit Mr Gabas and personally apologized to him after the incident. No further action is anticipated,” the ITF said in a statement. “Mr Gabas went to Ottawa General Hospital for checks on his left eye Sunday night. No damage to the cornea or retina was reported. He will be undergoing further checks with his personal eye doctor in France on Tuesday.”

Shapovalov said he was embarrassed by the incident.

“I’d like to apologize to the ITF officials and all officials,” Shapovalov said. “I went back and spoke to the [umpire] after, and apologized directly to him. Luckily he was okay, but obviously it’s unacceptable behavior from me.

“To be honest, I feel incredibly ashamed and embarrassed. I feel awful for letting my team down, for letting my country down, for acting a way that I would never want to act. 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. I was very lucky that the referee was okay.”

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26 Comments for Denis Shapovalov Hits Chair Umpire In Face With Ball, Gets Disqualified [Video]

Tennis Vagabond Says:

Man! That was awful! What a horrible way to lose a match, to lose a tie, and to end what was such a rare and extraordinary event for Ottawa.

Although the DQ may have been necessary, it wouldn’t have killed the ump to smile at some point! I mean, come on, get a sense of humour!

I hope this doesn’t do anything quirky to Shapovalov’s head. The kid has a GREAT future. he and Felix A-A look to assure Canada remains in the game for years to come. Shapovalov’s cross-court 1-handed backhand is absurd. Needs to get smarter in his shot choices, but I hope he’ll be top 100 in a year.

MMT Says:

Yeah, a stupid thing to do, a deserved disqualification, and a warning to others who have dodged this bullet. That umpire could have been blinded. If the ITF had any sense this kid would also be banned from all their competitions until after Roland Garros. That it was an accident is precisely the point – when you hit the ball in anger there’s no telling where it will go or what damage it will do.

kjb Says:

Bonehead move for sure. He was really sorry and ashamed in his post game press conference. Something like this happening may turn out to be a good thing going forward.

Margot Says:

But shame the headlines aren’t about how well Poppit played.

rognadfan Says:

man, I was thinking the exact same thing. I really thought he would smile at some point, but didn’t.
Definitely the dumbest way to lose a match for your country.
Not trying to defend him but it looks to me the never learned from the top players. When they hit the ball in anger they always go straight up, he went side ways. that cost his country the tie end the end.

RZ Says:

@Margot – I was thinking that it was nice to see Pospisil play well again after a bad year.

Gordon Says:

There’san irony to the fact that Pospisil played so well, winning both singles matches Friday and Sunday, but he had horrible stretches in the doubles match on Saturday. Had he been in form with Nestor, who played awesome as usual, Shapovalov probably wouldn’t have been playing a live match.

A bad accident forthe youngster; we go through things and learn as we mature. Denis learned a valuable lesson; too bad someone had to get hurt. Hope his eye suffered no lasting damage.

Dennis Says:

Tennis Vagabond: A sense of humor? Are you serious? After a guy smashes you in the eye with a ball deliberately hit in anger that could’ve blinded you? That ball was hit hard and like a line drive, no mere pop-up into the crowd. If it hadn’t hit the ump, he probably would’ve beaned someone in the crowd, which would’ve deserved a default too. If it had been a hit in the middle of a legit point where a shank hit the ump, then ok, have a sense of humor about it. But there was no excuse for this.

Giles Says:

Players really have to stop these temper tantrums. They see the higher ranked players throwing tantrums aka Novak Djokovic and feel they can follow suit? Shameful! ATP should start imposing penalties on players smashing racquets as well. Have some respect for the tool that earns you big bucks.

Bruce Myles Says:

Maybe if he had shaved the ball might not have hit him above his unshaved cheekbone

Chrisford1 Says:

Hahaha, Gilles. If there was a great risk of the general sporting public emulating this or that sports idol they are fans of down to the last detail, you’d be tugging on and then rubbing inbetween your butt crack and then sniffing your fingers.

You don’t do that, do you? Seriously?

Wog Boy Says:

“Sense of humor”, had to laugh on that one, what sense of humor when the ball travelling 100 plus km/h hits you in the eye? If I am chair umpire I would sue ITF for compensation, if Bouchard can do it, and it wasn’t any witnesses, sure he can do it.
So far 10 comments, and lot of sympathy for spoiled brat, if Nole did it, it would be 100+ comments and he would be sent to Guantanamao.

Wog Boy Says:

Correction, 11 comments, CF1 arrived while I was typing.

Daniel Says:

Agree with WB, I would have punched him in the locker room, or sue, this is aggression. Enough of hall pass for sports persons.

Tennis Vagabond Says:

Punching people is a great way to protest aggression. How can someone know you’re a committed pacifist unless you’re willing to kill for it?

Wog Boy Says:

Some reaction when Nalbadisn hurts linesman:

Tennis Vagabond Says:
That is really an incredible video.

The body language and interview after the fact are quite deplorable. First, he really doesn’t look like someone who just realizes he’s injured someone: the normal reaction would be a shocked rush to the injured person a hand on their shoulder, words like “Oh my god! I;m so sorry! Are you alright!” Watch the video and tell me if it looks like that’s what David is doing. Looks more like he’s leaning away from the injured person, wondering how he can get out of here incognito. And then the apology- a quick sorry and then on to how unfair this all is to him.

(and MadMax, context for a tantrum is critical. You can punch the air and no one will consider you a criminal, but if that air happens to contain a face, its a whole different story isn’t it?)


June 18th, 2012 at 9:29 pm

Keep in mind that chair umpire was injured too, but we expect “sense of humor” humor from him, really?

Giles Says:

Cf1. Still FOS I see!! 🐆

Daniel Says:


In the heat of the moment, If I am playing and my oponnet do that and the ball hit me, he would get some. I am not an umpire, and the situation wasn´t funny nor akward, no need to humor at all. It was tense as he could have a more serious injury. Notice how the organizer, I think, run in the right side of the video otwards the umpire.

Giles Says:

^^^ That doesn’t make it right! 🙄

Danica Says:

But let’s either name all recent “offenders” or none at all.

Truth Says:

Frauderer cursed at Andy Murray at the Australian because it wasn’t a cakewalk draw with the other 2007 Bagelled Andy Roddick giving up to hand him the trophy every year that they “played each other”.
Fed also cried to the umpire because a clay specialist distracted admirers during Fed’s glamorous ballet dances in the 2007 wimbledon final.

Wog Boy Says:

If anybody wants to know what happened to chair umpire after, well, two days ago he had surgery to fix broken cheekbone, now, try to imagine if mother with a baby was sitting behind what kind of damage that ball would cause on baby’s head…? Don’t try to compare that with others who hit ball in the air or straight in the ground, that’s controlled aggression, this was full power hit towards people, chair umpire happened to be first in the line.
I hope he is smart enough to sue Denis, ITF and whoever else comes on the line.
If this happened to Nole, man, TX would be working overtime, no?

kjb Says:


Thanks for the link. Thats crazy. I think if it happened to any of the top guys TX would be going crazy.

Wog Boy Says:


No probs, you are right about top guys.

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