Davis Cup umpire smashed in the face by tennis ball undergoes surgery on fractured eye socket

Operation for French tennis official Gabas after being struck by Shapovalov during Canada-Great Britain tie

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 12 February, 2017, 8:09pm
UPDATED : Sunday, 12 February, 2017, 8:16pm

French tennis umpire Arnaud Gabas, hit in the eye by a ball fired by Canadian Denis Shapovalov during a Davis Cup tie against Great Britain, has undergone surgery on a fractured eye socket.

Sources said that the 35-year-old’s retina and cornea were undamaged but confirmed a report in L’Equipe sports daily that the Frenchman required surgery.

Shapovalov, 17, handed Britain the Davis Cup tie when he was disqualified against Kyle Edmund last Sunday for bashing the ball in frustration and inadvertently catching Gabas in the eye.

Gabas, initially taken to hospital in Ottawa as a precaution, was left with bruising and swelling.

The International Tennis Federation fined Shapovalov US$7,000, rather than the maximum US$10,000, after accepting he had not intentionally struck Gabas after smacking a ball off the court in frustration at losing a point.

Shapovalov apologised for the incident, and published a statement on his Twitter account before the fine was announced.

Canadian Davis Cup player disqualified after smashing ball at umpire

“There is no excuse for this behaviour and I take full responsibility for my action,” read the statement.

“I’m very sorry to Mr Gabas, to whom I apologised in person. Very sorry for letting my Davis Cup team-mates down and for letting my country down.

“I apologise to all the tennis fans, to my supporters and my sponsors. I feel ashamed of my unprofessional behaviour and will accept any consequences as a result of my action.”