Denis Shapovalov has managed to stay out of the headlines since being the talk of the tennis world for rather favourable reasons earlier this year.
The Canadian caused a stir last February during a Davis Cup tie against the United Kingdom in which he smashed a ball out of frustration that fractured umpire Arnaud Gabas’ eye socket.
The official – who had no choice but to disqualify Shapovalov – later required minor surgery, leaving the youngster distraught with his lack of control.
Eager to leave the misdemeanour behind him, the 18-year-old kicked off his grass court season at the Aegon Championships on Monday against the same opponent who witnessed the incident – Kyle Edmund.
Shapovalov came out on top with a 7-6, 4-6, 6-4 victory despite feeling concerned he wouldn't receive a particularly friendly welcome from spectators in London.
“The whole match it was very close, very tight. Yeah, it was very tough to be out there, but I was enjoying it. I was enjoying the fight,” he said, as quoted on Tennis World USA.
“I didn’t know how the crowd was going to be.
“Once I got into it, it was fine. I didn’t have many thoughts except I was thinking please don’t do anything dumb this match. So many cameras on me.”
The teenager then spoke about how the incident involving umpire Gabas has weighed on his shoulders as well as those around him.
“I think it definitely had an impact on my life, on my family’s life, everyone that’s close to me.
“It hasn’t been easy. Especially at the time it was very tough with everyone’s comments. You know, just things that were happening.”
Refresh your memory of what happened between Shapovalov and Gabas by watching the video below.
Shapovalov was fined $7,000 after the International Tennis Federation decided not to impose the maximum $12,000 due to his immediate apology.
The offence has certainly blemished the reputation of a promising young player – though not to the extent it will hinder his progress on the court.
The world No. 193 wildcard will face seventh seed Tomas Berdych in the second round at the Queen’s Club as he seeks to claim a maiden ATP title.
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