'Get off the court' - Denis Shapovalov explains explosive 'shut the f*** up!' rant at fans at Italian Open
Fiery Canadian Denis Shapovalov has provided some of the context from his perspective in a bid to explain his wild outburst towards fans during his victory over home favourite Lorenzo Sonego at the Italian Open in Rome. Shapovalov unleashed his fury, first towards the umpire, then to the supervisor at the side of the court and also at fans, who he felt were attempting to rile him. Which they did.
Shapovalov clashes with umpire and crowd in fiery win over Sonego
The Canadian then proceeded to engage in a frosty discussion with the supervisor by the side of the court while also letting rip at fans who he felt were heckling him. He has now tried to provide further context behind his outbursts.
"He was just telling me to get off the court, get out of there, waving me off the court, trying to obviously get under my skin or whatnot," Shapovalov told a press conference.
"I think the umpire just needs to keep an eye on it if a player mentions something.
"The reason why [the heckler] didn't get kicked out was because [the umpire] told me he didn't see what happened. That's very understandable. I feel like he kept an eye on him after that. It didn't bother me after that.
"I think in the NBA there's a lot of hecklers and stuff like that. They're pretty strict, the security and everything, that [the fans] don't cross the line. If they do, they're kicked out right away.
"Obviously, I think it's a heat-of-the-moment kind of thing. I just need to improve with handling myself about that," he continued.
"But in terms of going forward, I've played in Rome a lot of times. The fans love me here and I love the fans... Even after the match, there were a lot of people standing, waiting for pictures, stuff like that.
"I do really appreciate the sport and the love I get here. I'm super excited to play another match - not against an Italian," he joked.
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Initially, umpire Richard Haigh had awarded the point to Shapovalov after Sonego hit his return out, but he then went for a closer look at the mark and overruled the line judge which put the players back on deuce.
Shapovalov said: "That's the mark right there you see." The Canadian then climbed over the net before pointing it out again.
ATP rules state you cannot cross onto the opponent's side of the net at any point in a match. Shapovalov had already been given a warning for an earlier incident.
Haigh said: "I understand it was a kick serve, that's the mark I had but I didn't think it was that short. Denis, listen because you crossed the net you're going to get another code violation. You can't cross the net."
Shapovalov: "No way! Come on I was just showing you the mark. Call the supervisor that's b*******! That's so unfair."
Haigh: "Listen, Denis, I know what you were doing."
Shapovalov: "I'm not doing anything unsportsmanlike. How can you give me a point penalty for that?"
Haigh: "That's just the rule."
Shapovalov: "No it's not it's stupid. That's so unfair. Call the supervisor I showed you the mark."
Denis Shapovalov (R) of Canada shakes hands after winning the match against Lorenzo Sonego of Italy during their singles first round match in the Internazionali BNL D'Italia at Foro Italico
Image credit: Getty Images
After Shapovalov made the same point to the supervisor on the side of court he screamed towards the booing crowd "shut the f*** up!" and was subsequently given a game penalty.
Shapovalov then asked Haigh to kick a spectator out for what the Canadian believed to be someone heckling him.
After Haigh said he would not eject the spectator because he was not sure what Shapovalov saw, the 23-year-old said: "This is not a tennis match anymore."
Shapovalov went on to win the fiery contest 7-6(5) 3-6 6-3 in three hours and 11 minutes and apologised to Haigh for his conduct afterwards. He will face Nikoloz Basilashvili in the last 32.
The world No. 14 was previously fined $7000 (£5,690) in 2017 after being defaulted for unsportsmanlike conduct for unintentionally striking chair umpire Arnaud Gabas in the eye with a ball during Canada's tie against Great Britain at the Davis Cup. Gabas suffered a fractured eye socket.
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