It turns out that NBA players aren’t the only athletes growing tired of fans overstepping their boundaries at sporting events.
Canadian tennis star Denis Shapovalov was serving at 3-4 down against Lorenzo Sonego in the Italian Open Monday, when Sonego’s return was initially ruled as out, before umpire Richard Haigh wanted a closer look. Haigh determined that the return was in and the point was awarded to Sonego.
Haigh’s ruling sent Shapovalov into a frenzy, who climbed over the net to Sonego’s side, which is not allowed under ATP rules. Shapovalov was intending to show Haigh the mark before a chorus of boos rained down from the pro-Sonego crowd.
And that’s when Shapovalov lost it.
“Shut the f*** up,” Shapovalov shouted back at the Italian Open crowd.
He went on to say after the match — which he won 7-6 (7-5), 3-6, 6-3 in three hours and 11 minutes — that he thinks ATP security should deal with hecklers like the NBA does.
“The reason why [the heckler] didn’t get kicked out was because [the umpire] told me he didn’t see what happened,” he said. “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.”
Shapovalov later admitted that the crowd got to him and said he had a lot of love for Rome.
“Obviously I think it’s a heat-of-the-moment kind of thing. I just need to improve with handling myself about that,” he 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.”
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