Canadian tennis star Denis Shapovalov revealed a heckler kept repeating to him that he should leave the court and that was his way of trying to disrupt his focus versus Lorenzo Sonego.
Shapovalov exploded during his Rome opener versus Sonego as the cameras caught him yelling at a fan to “shut the f— up.
“He was just telling me to get off the court, get out of there, waving me off the court,” Shapovalov said, per Tennishead.
“He was obviously trying to get under my skin or whatnot.”
Shapovalov complained about the heckler but he wasn’t thrown out of the stadium.
“I think the umpire just needs to keep an eye on it if a player mentions something,” Shapovalov added.
“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 offers a solution
Shapovalov thinks tennis should look at the NBA model and throw out fans that cross the line.
Trash talking is a big part of the NBA culture and seeing players get into with the fans is not a rare occurence.
However, fans tend to sometimes cross the line, and when that happens, the security shows them the exit doors.
Shapovalov suggests the similar pattern should be introduced in tennis – when fans cross the line with their trash talk and heckling, they get kicked out of the stadium.
“They’re pretty strict, the security and everything,” Shapovalov said.
“[Fans] don’t cross the line.
“If they do, they’re kicked out right away.”
Shapovalov was playing an Italian player in the Rome first round so it shouldn’t be a surprise that the Rome crowd was a bit extra.
However, Shapovalov managed to put it all behind him and win in three sets.