Eye-balled: Canadian tennis player smashes umpire in face with ball after losing point (VIDEO)
This is the moment furious Canadian tennis player Denis Shapovalov fired a ball into the face of the chair umpire in frustration at losing a point in a Davis Cup match in Ottawa on Sunday.
Seventeen-year-old Shapovalov was taking on Kyle Edmund in the decisive fifth-rubber match of the World Group first-round tie for the Canadian men’s team versus Great Britain when the fit of frustration occurred.
Upset at going down a break in the third set, the temperamental Canadian plucked a ball from his pocket and smashed it with his racket in frustration.
The missile hit umpire Arnaud Gabas of France directly in the face, causing him to receive courtside first aid and treatment with an ice bag. Shapovalov's immediate regret was heavily apparent.
Under the rules of the International Tennis Federation (ITF), Canada was disqualified, losing the match to Britain’s Edmund by a score of 6-3, 6-4, 2-1 and handing the tie, which was level at 2-2 after four contests, to Great Britain 3-2.
The disqualification means Great Britain moves on to the quarterfinals of Davis Cup, while Canada will have to play in September in the World Group playoffs to remain in the top tier of international tennis.
After the outburst and subsequent forfeit, Shapovalov faced the media on Sunday evening to express his “deep regret” at the incident.
“I would just like to begin with apologizing to that referee and to all ITF officials, and to be honest all officials,” said Shapovalov, a Tennis Canada statement read.
“I went back and spoke to the referee after and apologized directly to him, luckily he was OK.
“Obviously it was just unacceptable behavior from me and to be honest, I just feel incredibly ashamed and embarrassed and I just feel awful for letting my team down, my country down, for acting in a way that I would never want to act.”
Team Canada captain Martin Laurendeau, flanking Shapovalov at the press conference, conceded that “the rules are the rules.”
“I don’t think it was a planned event. It’s a lesson that he will take from this and move forward.
“I mean, he’s a kid as you can see, he wants to face the music, he’s not going to shy away, he’s not that kind of guy, he’s got some great talent and it’s just the beginning of his career, so he’ll draw a big lesson out of this,” he added.
Shapovalov, who was born in Israel to Russian parents but was raised in Canada, rose to prominence last year by when he became the Wimbledon 2016 Boys’ champion.
The precocious youngster holds a current Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) men's singles ranking of 251st in the world.
He was later fined USD $7,000 for the incident.