The conclusion of Great Britain’s Davis Cup tie with Canada was bizarre in the extreme.
Seventeen-year-old Canadian Denis Shapalov smashed the ball off the court in anger after losing his serve during the third set of the deciding rubber against Kyle Edmund, hitting umpire Arnaud Gabas in the eye, and was immediately defaulted. Shapovalov could have been fined up to a maximum of $12,000 by referee Brian Earley but the unintentional nature of the offence and his obvious remorse was taken into account. That said, the International Tennis Federation have still fined the youngster $7,000.
Shapalov’s indiscretion shows what can happen when tempers aren’t kept in check on the tennis court. Even Novak Djokovic has been guilty of similar actions, though has never struck an official. However, David Nalbandian was defaulted for kicking an advertising hoarding against the leg of a line judge in the final at Queen’s in 2012 and Tim Henman was punished when he hitting a ball at a ball girl at Wimbledon.
Shapalov looked to be heading for defeat against Kyle Edmund so his actions probably didn’t affect the outcome in Ottawa but Great Britain will have their work cut out to win their quarter-final with France in the spring. Davis Cup captain Leon Smith believes his team could progress even if Andy Murray, missing in Ottawa, opts not to play again. But his team would surely need the world number one to have any chance against a team that has four players in the top 20 of the men’s rankings and the world’s top-ranked doubles pair in Nicolas Mahut and Pierre-Hugues Herbert. At least Great Britain have guaranteed themselves a place in the world group for a fifth year running.
Great Britain are 6/1 to regain the Davis Cup with BetVictor but the draw has opened up for France (a best 4/1) with the surprise elimination of Germany. They did lose to Britain at the same stage two years ago but that tie was played on grass at Queen’s. This year’s tie will be played on clay, not Murray’s favourite surface, and I just can’t see GB getting anywhere near the French in what is Smith’s toughest match in seven years in charge of the national team.
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Defending champions Argentina are already out but their conquerors Italy are 12/1 with BetVictor. Novak Djokovic and Serbia are a best 3/1 with Coral, who offer 11/2 against Spain. The USA and Australia are the same odds as Great Britain.
2017 Davis Cup Current Best Odds
Serbia (3/1), France (4/1), Spain (11/2), Australia, Great Britain and USA (6/1), Italy (12/1), Belgium (20/1)