During the second set of his 7-6 3-6 6-3 win over Italy’s Lorenzo Sonego in Rome, Shapovalov was given a penalty point after crossing the net to show the referee a scoring ball in the field.

The incident prompted boos ringing around the stadium, and Shapovalov briefly interrupted his admonitions with the referee to shout “shut the f**k up” at a fan.

“He was just telling me to get off the pitch, get out of there, waving me off the pitch. Obviously trying to get under my skin or whatever,” Shapovalov said at a news conference, according to Reuters.

“I think the referee just has to keep an eye on it if a player mentions something.

“The reason why (the heckler) wasn’t sent off is that (the ref) told me he didn’t see what happened. It’s very understandable. the feeling that he kept an eye on him after that annoys me after that.”

Shapovalov, who will face Nikoloz Basilashvili in the next round of the Italian Open, later apologized to the referee for losing his temper.

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He added that tennis could be tougher on hecklers and take a similar approach to the NBA.

“They’re pretty strict, security and everything, that (the fans) don’t cross the line. If they do, they get kicked out immediately,” Shapovalov said.

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