Denis Shapovalov has said that he would struggle to forgive himself if umpire Arnaud Gabas had been seriously injured by the ball which he accidentally hit him with.
Shapovalov was representing Canada against Great Britain in the Davis Cup when he angrily smacked the ball towards the crowd having lost a point to Kyle Edmund. However, the ball smashed into Gabas and caught him in the eye. Shapovalov was immediately dismissed from the match.
Edmund was two sets up at the time and his victory meant that Britain won the tie 3 – 2. Shapovalov was fined $7,000 by the International Tennis Federation.
While Gabas was left with a bruise, he was lucky that there was no lasting damage to his cornea or retina.
Speaking this week Shapovalov said, “I’m very lucky that he is okay, because if things had gone worse I don’t think I would have been able to forgive myself, and I don’t think I would be able to move past it. After everything had happened, I was in the locker room and I was asking if I could go see him, see if he was okay. I got a chance to talk to him and he was actually so good about it, which was very mature of him.”
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Shapovalov described his actions as a “stupid move” but said that Gabas was joking with him about the incident and said that it was ok.
The reigning Wimbledon junior champion also said that he was sorry that he denied Britain the chance to celebrate a more conventional victory, “I also wanted to apologise to the British fans and to Kyle and the whole British team”.
Shapovalov conceded that he would likely have lost the match had it continued and complemented Edmund on his play.