Tennis bad boy Denis Shapovalov explodes into an angry on-court meltdown at the Italian Open, furiously screaming at the jeering crowd to ‘shut the f*** up’ – before insisting ‘the fans love me’ after beating home favourite Lorenzo Sonego in Rome
- Denis Shapovalov screamed at a crowd member to ‘shut the f*** up’ in Rome
- The irate world No 16 claimed a heckler was telling him to leave the court
- Canadian Shapovalov took on home player Lorenzo Sonego at the Italian Open
- Shapovalov claimed he shares love with the fans after progressing in three sets
Denis Shapovalov called for tennis officials to take a stronger stand against disruptive fans after he was heckled during his three-set win over local hope Lorenzo Sonego at the Italian Open on Monday.
Shapovalov lost his cool, was handed a point penalty and was booed by the fans but he overcame all those distractions to beat Italy’s Sonego 7-6(5) 3-6 6-3 in his opening match in Rome.
The Canadian was given a point penalty after he climbed over the net to point out to the chair umpire the mark on his rival’s side of the court, which is prohibited by the ATP rules.
Denis Shapovalov was enraged en route to making the round of 32 at the Italian Open in Rome
The irate Canadian interrupted a chat with the umpire to loudly swear at a heckler in the crowd
After Shapovalov complained about the punishment to the supervisor while being jeered by the fans, he screamed an expletive at the crowd as he believed he was being taunted by one spectator.
‘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,’ scorned Shapovalov told a news 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.
Shapovalov called for officials to keep a close eye on unruly punters following his verbal volley
‘That’s very understandable. I feel like he kept an eye on him after that. It didn’t bother me after that.’
The 23-year-old suggested that tennis should follow the lead of other sports in which disruptive fans are evicted from the stands.
‘In the NBA there’s a lot of hecklers and stuff like that,’ he said. ‘They’re pretty strict, the security and everything, that [fans] don’t cross the line. If they do, they’re kicked out right away.’
The world number 16, however, acknowledged that his own behaviour was not acceptable.
The 23-year-old said he shares an affection with the locals and enjoys playing the tournament
‘It’s a heat-of-the-moment kind of thing. I just need to improve with handling myself about that,’ Shapovalov said.
‘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.’