Great Britain have progressed through to the quarter finals of the Men’s singles of the Davis Cup (often dubbed the World Cup of Tennis) after victory in the deciding match over a Canada side that lost by default, due to its player Denis Shopovalov being disqualified. His disqualification occurred in bizarre fashion as he hit the umpire with a tennis ball after angrily losing a point to his British opponent Kyle Edmund. The match ended 6-3, 6-4, 2-1 and despite having just been hit and having a highly bruised eye, the umpire, Arnaud Gabas, and both players shook hands amicably at the end.
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This will have been a wake up call for Shopovalov, the young 17-year-old Canadian, who clearly still has much to learn at the higher levels of professional tennis. He was visibly upset and distraught, as he knew how much that moment of loss of control had cost him. He has let himself and his country down, but if he hopes to one day see significant success in the sport, he cannot let his anger on court lead to him lashing out as he did — evidently, it only leads to bruising repercussions.
He clearly did not intend to hit the umpire but it could easily have struck someone else in the crowd. Such behaviour is unprofessional and has no place in tennis. Shopovalov has since been fined $7000 (£5600) by the International Tennis Federation for the incident. He issued an apology in the wake of his disqualification and will hopefully learn from this experience to keep his temper under control in the future.
Great Britain, and specifically Kyle Edmund, will take a win in whatever form it comes and the team will overall be pleased with their performances so far in the tournament, but aware there is still room for improvement. The British doubles team had success with duo Jamie Murray and Dom Inglot sweeping aside Canadians Vasek Poposil and Daniel Nestor 3-1 but Edmund himself suffered a shock defeat to Poposil in straight sets and while fellow Brit, Dan Evans, had a good start with a victory over Shopovalov in straight sets, he then lost to Poposil by 3-1 making the final match between Shopalov and Edmund the decider. Britain will now face France in the quarter finals in April, with real belief that they can push to the final and win the Davis Cup.
Great Britain have only won the Davis Cup once since 1972, in 2015 thanks to Andy Murray’s victory over the Belgian David Goffin. The USA and Australia have historically dominated this tournament with more wins between them than all the other countries combined. However with Andy Murray’s dominance of men’s tennis in recent years, and the likes of Dan Evans, Kyle Edmund and other young British talent beginning to come into prominence, an era of European dominance and possibly British dominance in this tournament could possibly be upon us.