Umpire feels lucky to avoid serious injury after Shapovalov incident

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Chair umpire Arnaud Gabas, who was hit by a ball smashed by Denis Shapovalov during Davis Cup play this past weekend, says he is lucky that he didn’t suffer a serious injury.

The incident led to Shapovalov being defaulted and a trip to the hospital for Gabas, but no significant damage to the eye was found.

"I came off the court looking like Rocky Balboa," he told British reporters. "I feel quite lucky it wasn't worse."

The umpire said he was still on painkillers and would be further examined. He described Shapovalov as appearing "shocked" when the Canadian player came to him to apologize again for the angry demonstration. The International Tennis Federation ruled that Shapovalov "did not intend" to hit the umpire. 

"The video is quite shocking to look at," Gabas said. "We have to avoid some balls during the season, but this one I had no chance.

"Players can be a bit crazy these days. I could see he was angry and that something was coming, but I never thought he would hit me."

Shapovalov was down two sets to love when it occurred.

Great Britain won 3-2 in the World Group tie.

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