Why Denis Shapovalov Will Remember A Wimbledon


WIMBLEDON, England — When Tessa Shapovalova coached her in Toronto as a child, she told her young son to ignore the balls that flew over his head when he went to the net. One day, he said, he would be tall enough to reach them.

“Since my youth I have never been a player to sit back and wait for my opponent’s mistakes,” Denis Shapovalov said on Wednesday. “I always wanted to be the dictator. When I was 10 or 12 years old, I was always hitting the nets, lobbying there, losing points.

“My mom always said to me, ‘You’ll grow up later, and that will be an advantage for you. This is your thing. You have to save it for the future and keep it going.’”

Shapovalov, 22, has reached his first semi-final at the Grand Slam tournament at Wimbledon, where he will face Novak. Djokovic on Friday in hopes of becoming the first Canadian Reach the final here since 2016.

“It was great that he had that vision for years to come,” said Shapovalov, who is still coached by his mother. “Like I said, it’s something I’ve always had.”

On grass courts that reward assertive play more than on any other floor, Shapovalov wins race after round, rally after rally.

Despite playing fewer matches than the other three, he had 214 winners, most of the four semi-finalists.

In the first-round win, 58 winners over Philipp Kohlschreiber’s 30. After making a second-round pass from Pablo Andújar, knocked two-time Wimbledon champion Andy Murray off the field. in the third round, Murray’s divided the 45 winners into 16. fourth round win, Shapovalov shot 52 winners to 14 of Roberto Bautista Agut.

Credit…Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

“I played against a very good version of Denis,” said eighth-seeded Bautista Agut. “I think he played great. He hit really hard. He served well.”

As Bautista Agut alludes to, there have been smaller versions of Shapovalov in past years; Shapovalov also made the most unfortunate mistakes of the remaining men at Wimbledon with 170.

Shapovalov made a stunning debut on tour at the age of 18. beat top number one Rafael Nadal At the 2017 Montreal Masters, a night session featuring Wayne Gretzky in the front row excited the crowd. But in the intervening years, the results for Shapovalov and his free-swinging arm have not always materialized, and he has had to work to rein in his strength.

“Maybe sometimes I’m a little too wild and I don’t get my opponents big points,” Shapovalov said. “I’ve actually been a bit more conservative in this tournament.”

Shapovalov’s more cautious play didn’t quite serve him well in the quarterfinals against Karen Khachanov on Wednesday: he lost the second and third sets.

“I knew in the fourth and fifth I had to dictate myself and be aggressive,” Shapovalov said. “Otherwise he would have won the match. It feels so natural to me. I’ve always been an aggressive player. I’ve always wanted to shoot. Actually, on the contrary, I had to learn to take a step back and put more pressure on my opponents and get them to score.”

“Sometimes it helps that it comes naturally to me, especially in a game like today where the opponent plays very well and gives you nothing. You should go and get it yourself.”

Shapovalov eventually took it for himself, winning 6-4, 3-6, 5-7, 6-1, 6-4 and 59 to Khachanov’s 31.

“I think my game is up a bit,” Shapovalov said. “It’s something I should be super proud of myself for.”

Khachanov admitted that with the defeat, Shapovalov “goes after him more” at critical moments.

“This is his style of play – that’s how he is,” said Khachanov. “He also makes a lot of non-essential mistakes, but that’s why I think he’s a difficult player to play because he can do it especially when he pulls the trigger on the turf. Sometimes you just don’t expect where to run.”

To advance one more lap, Shapovalov will have to get past Djokovic’s solid defense. Shapovalov is 0-6 against him, but the two have never played on the field before.

“You don’t get a lot of opportunity in the shuttle game, especially here on the turf,” Djokovic said.

“I’m sure this will be the biggest test I’ve ever done in this tournament, which is expected as well – the semi-finals,” added Djokovic. “I’m looking forward to it. It’s going to be a war and I have to do my best.”


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