Denis Shapovalov Italian Open 2022

‘They’re pretty strict’ – Italian Open incident prompts solution suggestion from Denis Shapovalov

Denis Shapovalov believes that tennis can look to basketball and the NBA as a model for how to deal with disruptive fans after the Canadian was part of a hostile exchange at the Italian Open. 

The world number 16 took on home talent Lorenzo Sonego in his first round Italian Open match, eventually defeating him 7-6 (7-5), 3-6, 6-3.

However, the match had plenty of drama in store, culminating in a moment when Shapovalov shouted at a fan to “shut the f*** up!”

The 23-year-old said in a tournament press conference: “He was just telling me to get off the court, get out of there, waving me off the court.

“He was obviously trying to get under my skin or whatnot.”

The Canadian then pointed out the heckler to umpire Richard Haigh, at which point he felt more at ease with the situation.

He said: “I think the umpire just needs to keep an eye on it if a player mentions something.

“The reason why [the guy] didn’t get kicked out was because [the umpire] told me he didn’t see what happened.

“That’s very understandable, I feel like he kept an eye on him after that, it didn’t bother me after that.”


Shapovalov then suggested basketball, specifically the NBA, as a model for how tennis could deal with the problem.

He explained: “They’re pretty strict, the security and everything.

“[Fans] don’t cross the line.

“If they do, they’re kicked out right away.”

Shapovalov backed up his opening win over Sonego by defeating 25th ranked Nikoloz Basilashvili.

He now awaits the winner of John Isner and Rafael Nadal in the third round in Rome.

Should he face the Spaniard it would be a chance for Shapovalov to avenge a tight encounter between the two men at last year’s event when the Canadian had two match points but failed to secure the victory.


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