enis Shapovalov’s heated Italian Open clash with Lorenzo Sonego boiled over after the Canadian tennis star yelled “shut the f*** up” at home fans as he argued with the umpire.
The rising star, 23, came up against home favourite Sonego in the round of 64 on Monday and made hard work of his eventual 7-6(5), 3-6, 6-3 victory.
At one point, Shapovalov was handed a penalty point for climbing over the net to make a complaint about his opponent – incurring the wrath of the Rome spectators. Clearly aggravated, he shouted “shut the f*** up” across the court.
Explaining the incident after the match, the world No16 insisted that he enjoys the home supporters’ passion, but joked that he would rather not be on the receiving end of it in his next match.
“Obviously I think it’s a heat-of-the-moment kind of thing,” he told reporters. “I just need to improve with handling myself about that.
“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 support and the love I get here. I’m super excited to play another match – not against an Italian!”
Shapovalov admitted that he was particularly irked by one fan’s heckling during the encounter with Sonego.
“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,” the Canadian added.
“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. That’s very understandable. I feel like he kept an eye on him after that. It didn’t bother me after that.”