Denis Shapovalov learned the fastest way to end a tennis match: just hit the umpire in the face with a tennis ball.
Representing Canada in the Davis Cup, Shapovalov, age 17, was playing Great Britain’s Kyle Edmund. In the third set of their match, with the overall scores tied at 2 apiece for Canada and Great Britain, Shapovalov lost his temper after losing a point. He smacked a ball in frustration, only to watch it ping right off the face of umpire Arnaud Gabas.
Here’s video of the smack:
A referee on-scene immediately tossed Shapovalov for “unsportsmanlike conduct,” handing Great Britain a 3-2 victory. Gabas went to a hospital for precautionary measures, suffering a bruise and swelling in his left eye.
“I feel incredibly ashamed and embarrassed and I just feel awful for letting my team down, for letting my country down, for acting in a way that I would never want to act,” Shapovalov said in a statement shortly after the match. “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 it.”
Shapovalov has incredible talent, winning the Junior U.S. Open doubles and the Junior Davis Cup, as well as the boys’ title at Wimbledon. The question now is whether he’ll be able to keep his temper in check as he moves into men’s divisions.
Jay Busbee is a writer for Yahoo Sports and the author of EARNHARDT NATION, on sale now at Amazon or wherever books are sold. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or find him on Twitter or on Facebook.