Umpire left 'looking like Rocky Balboa' by Shapovalov


The umpire at the centre of one of the oddest match finishes in tennis said he looked "like Rocky Balboa" after taking a stray ball hit by Canada's Denis Shapovalov to the face.

A thrilling Davis Cup tie between Great Britain and Canada was abruptly ended on Sunday when Shapovalov's frustrations at two sets down to Kyle Edmund in the deciding rubber got the better of him and he lashed out, taking a spare ball out of his pocket and smashing it in anger.

The ball flew straight into umpire Arnaud Gabas' eye and the 17-year-old was consequently defaulted, handing the tie to Britain and securing their progression to the quarter-finals.

Shapovalov was fined $7,000 after apologising for the bizarre incident and Gabas felt fortunate to escape without serious injury.

"I came off the court looking like Rocky Balboa," Gabas said.

"The video is quite shocking to look at. We have to avoid some balls during the season but this one I had no chance.

"I feel quite lucky it wasn't worse. Players can be a bit crazy these days. I could see he was angry and that something was coming but I never thought he would hit me.

"He was remorseful and shocked when he came to apologise.

"At the moment I'm OK, I'm on painkillers but I have an appointment to see a specialist when I get home."