Tennis Kid Gets Angry, Smashes Ball at Umpire’s Face

Bryan Brandom
(Photo: Getty Images)

Tennis umpire Arnaud Gabas underwent eye surgery this past weekend after being struck in the face with a tennis ball from the racket of Canadian teenager Denis Shapovalov during a Davis Cup match last week.

While playing Great Britain's Kyle Edmund, the 17-year-old reigning Wimbledon junior champ smashed a ball out of frustration. Unintentionally, it lasered straight into the face of Gabas, the chair umpire.

Shapovalov was disqualified from the rubber match, ending the Davis Cup clash between Great Britain and Canada in a draw.

“I did a very stupid thing and I’m really embarrassed and ashamed,” Shapovalov said during a phone interview. “I went into complete shock after I hit it. The worst part was I had no idea how badly I may have hurt him. I’ve never hurt a single person in my whole life—never even wanted to hurt someone. That was so unprofessional of me. It was such a fluke accident. I promise I am going to mature from it and learn from it.”

He was fined $7,000 by the International Tennis Federation.

"Chair umpire Arnaud Gabas has undergone successful surgery in France to repair a fracture of the orbital bone under his left eye," the ITF said in a statement.

"The fracture was detected when doctors performed X-rays upon Mr Gabas's return from Ottawa, where he was unintentionally hit by a ball during the Davis Cup by BNP Paribas World Group tie between Canada and Great Britain on Feb. 5.

"Mr. Gabas is now back at his home and is in good spirits. His doctors have recommended that he undertake a period of rest and recovery."

After the match, Shapovalov requested to speak with Gabas privately.

“I wasn’t sure how he would react to me, but he was so nice to me,” Shapovalov said. “He was so professional. He told me he was okay and I shouldn’t worry. I hope I get to see him again.”


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