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Tennis

Denis Shapovalov Needed Permission To Piss

Denis Shapovalov begs the umpire to allow him to pee.
Photo: David Gray/AFP via Getty Images

The highlight of the Australian Open on Monday was a first-round clash of young standouts: 21-year-old Denis Shapovalov wore down 19-year-old Jannik Sinner, 3-6, 6-3, 6-3, 4-6, 6-4. Whenever there are that many numbers in a tennis score, it can be deduced that there were many junctures at which the players might have had to piss.

At the end of the fourth set, Shapovalov had to piss. He had just called on the physiotherapist and was hoping to sneak in a quick trip before receiving treatment. The audio was murky, but the umpire seemed to be telling Shapovalov that he could take a trip to the bathroom, or a medical timeout, but not both. He could not leave the court while waiting for the physio to arrive—not even to quickly use the toilet. So, he decided to name a couple other places where he could conceivably piss.

“I have to pee,” Shapovalov said. “I’m gonna piss my pants.” This plea wasn’t effective, so he tried another line of persuasion.

“I’m going to piss in a bottle.” No dice. “So what, you guys are not allowing players to piss?” Shapovalov asked, taking a huge swig of his drink, increasing the urgency of his request but also potentially strategically emptying the vessel. He (accurately) noted that pissing at the next changeover would have been more disruptive to the match than simply allowing him to piss during this lull before the physio’s arrival, but that didn’t work either.

After getting some work on his left shoulder, Shapovalov resumed play. Three games and 20 minutes after his initial plea, he was permitted to piss during a changeover, jogging back to the court right after the umpire called time to resume play. “I do think it’s a dumb rule,” Shapovalov said after the match, seemingly relieved with the outcome. “I’ve got the smallest bladder ever, so I literally got to take a piss every set.”