Britain’s World No42 became a YouTube star when Shapovalov was disqualified for hitting an umpire in the eye with a ball
KYLE EDMUND became a YouTube star thanks to Denis Shapovalov’s Davis Cup meltdown.
But now it is Edmund’s task to give the 18-year-old Canadian one in the eye — metaphorically speaking — in their blockbuster US Open clash today.
Back in March, Shapovalov smashed away a ball in anger during his cup clash with Edmund that hit umpire Arnaud Gabas, fracturing his eye-socket.
Gabas defaulted him, handing the match and the tie to Great Britain — before heading to hospital.
But it was only when Edmund watched the incident back online that he knew for sure what had happened.
Edmund, 22, said: “It got a few YouTube hits. All my matches have got something like 5,000 or 10,000, then you go on that and it has 200,000.
“You can see on the video that my head was down when he hit it.
“I thought he hit it against the boards at the side where our team was.
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“I thought the umpire was going, “Oh no, what’s he done? You can’t smack a ball like that so close to people.’”
At this point Edmund mimicked Gabas putting his head in his hands.
He continued: “And then I realised it actually hit him. It’s quite funny actually, everyone is in shock, no one is really doing anything.”
It was far from funny at the time for Shapovalov, or Gabas.
Edmund said: “I don’t think it will ever happen again.
“In the moment, he obviously realised he did wrong. In a funny way, I think it’s helped him mature because since then he’s done good.
“He’s learned from it and moved forward in a positive way and realised that behaviour is just something he’s got to be better at. He’s had a good year since then.”
He certainly has. Shapovalov beat Edmund at Queen’s but his season has really taken flight in the last month.
The 2016 junior Wimbledon champion soared to the semi-finals as a wildcard at his home Masters event in Montreal, beating Rafael Nadal on the way.
And he has taken that form to New York, winning three qualifying matches, beating Daniil Medvedev in the first round and downing No 8 seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in straight sets in the second.
Edmund, though, has given two impressive and mature displays of his own in beating world No 32 Robin Haase and Steve Johnson in straight sets.
In the absence of the injured Andy Murray and following defeats for all the other Brits in the singles, he is the last man standing.
World No 42 Edmund said: “It’s not like it’s, ‘Oh, well done, you’re the last Brit’.
“It’s just a shame that a few of us have lost early. But I guess in another way it’s good that there’s some more depth in British tennis that we’re able to have other people go further.”
And despite Shapovalov’s high-profile success, Edmund knows he has a great chance to match his run to the fourth round at Flushing Meadows last year.
Edmund added: “Shapovalov likes to take the ball on. He’s been playing well.
“But I’m playing well, so there’s no reason why I shouldn’t go out there feeling confident.”
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