Canada Falls To Great Britain After Shapovalov disqualification

Denis Shapovalov (photo: Davis Cup)

OTTAWA, February 6, 2017

On day 3 of the Davis Cup by BNP Paribas tie between Canada and Great Britain the Brits were looking to close the deal up 2-1 after the doubles win. Canada was looking to advance to the quarterfinals and it would take 2 wins to get there.

The first match of the reverse singles was between Canada Vasek Pospisil and Britain Daniel Evans.  Great Britain got the better start to the match when Evans got an early break in the 1st set to lead 2-1. Vasek made a comeback and got the break back to get the set back on serve at 3-3.  The set would eventually be decided by a tiebreaker which Vasek got the advantage and got the break to lead 4-2 in the break and Canada won the breaker 7-3. The thought of a comeback looked probable as Vasek continued his good play into the 2nd set and it was his turn to get the early break to lead 2-1. Evans would reply in breaking back in the next game to level it back at 2-2. Canada and Great Britain would continue trading breaks but Vasek looked the better of the 2 players and took the set 6-4.

Canada continued its dominant play into the 3rd set when once again it got another break and Vasek would go up 3-1. Then Evans picked up his game and won 5 straight games to take the 3rd 6-3. Evans got another break early in the 4th set but Canada would reply to get it back on serve at 3-3. Once again we headed to another tiebreaker where Vasek once again was the better player and he finally took the breaker 7-5 and with that the match final score 7-6, 6-4, 6-7, 7-6 and the tie was level at 2-2 and the tie would be decided by a 5th rubber.

The 5th rubber would be between Denis Shapovalov and Kyle Edmund. Once again inexperienced showed in Shapovalov game who was only playing his 3rd Davis cup rubber. Edmund would get an early break and would serve for the 1st set at 5-3. He would take the set 6-3. Almost the same story for the 2nd set as Shapovalov kept making crazy shots that turned into a lot of unforced errors. Once again Edmund got the break at right time at 5-4 and would take the 2nd 6-4. The 3rd set was a complete disaster for Canada. After getting broken in the 3rd game Shapovalov hit the ball in frustration and anger and somehow hit the umpire Arnaud Gabas in the face with the ball. Canada was disqualified and lost the tie as Great Britain will now play France and a shocking ending to a weekend.

“I would just like to begin with apologizing to the referee, and to all ITF officials,” 17-year-old Shapovalov said in his official statement following the match. “I went back and spoke to the referee after and apologized right to him. Luckily he was okay, but obviously it was unacceptable behaviour from me and to be honest I feel just incredibly ashamed and embarrassed. I just feel awful for letting my team down, letting my country down, for acting in a way that I would never want to act. I can promise that it’s the last time I will do anything like that. I’ve learned from this and am going to try and move past it. I was very lucky the referee was okay, but this is unacceptable for me.”

Canadian Davis Cup captain Martin Laurendeau stood behind his selection and gave his thoughts on the sudden turn of events.

“It was just a lesson that he will take from this and move forward,” he said. “He’s a kid as you see, he wants to face the music, and he’s not going to shy away. He’s got some great talent and it’s just the beginning of his career. He’ll draw a big lesson from this. It’s a tough sport; you can’t compete if you don’t have emotional control and this lesson could serve him for the rest of his career, but there’s a lot of things you can take from this. Hopefully he’s able to move forward stronger from this.”

Canada, ranked No. 12, will compete in the World Group play-offs slated for September 15-17, 2017 in order to try and maintain their position in the upper echelon of Davis Cup play.