Much has been said and written about Denis Shapovalov’s unfortunate incident from the final day of the Davis Cup by BNP Paribas first round. The video is there for all to see.
When playing Kyle Edmund in the deciding rubber, he swipes a ball in frustration and in a freakish incident it hits the chair umpire in the left eye.
Here is the video:
Shapovalov was defaulted and Great Britain ended up winning the tie against Canada.
Absolutely the Canadian player did not mean to do this. From all accounts he is a very nice young man. Absolutely it was unfortunate. Absolutely there was no intention to hurt the umpire and the ball was hit in frustration. However, the point is a player is responsible for their actions on court.
What happened in Ottawa raised question in some circles about there being one rule for some players and one for other players.
Two incidents relating to Novak Djokovic were made a point of – one in Rome last year and one in Doha this year.
Last year in Rome, Novak disputed a line call and Carlos Bernardes came off his chair to look at the mark more closely. Djokovic pushed the respected umpire and while there were plenty of gasps from the crowd there was no warning issued and no penalty imposed. Then in Doha, Djokovic flicked a ball in frustration which sailed over the side barrier and skimmed a person sitting in the front row. Again nothing was done.
Historically there were two very notable cases where a player was defaulted instantly. Tim Henman swiped a ball that hit a ball girl and he was out of The Championships. The incident left everyone shocked … after all it was Gentleman Tim at Wimbledon.
Then, at The Queen’s Club, David Nalbandian hit a courtside advertisement so hard during the final that it splintered and cut the leg of the linesman sitting nearby. The final ended there and then and the Argentine was defaulted.
Now the point of this is not to have a dig at Novak, not at all. The point is that members of the public, the fans feel that maybe the rules are not addressed consistently.
The basic premise is that the player is responsible for their actions on the court. Taking that into consideration, whether a spectator was hurt or not, wouldn’t it warrant at the very least a point penalty or a game penalty?
What are your thoughts on something like this? Should there be a bit more leniency for the biggest names or should there be consistency across the board?