“Just Want to Play More”: Denis Shapovalov Seeks Clay Comfort in Estoril Ahead of Mutua Madrid Open 2021

Published 04/27/2021, 4:59 AM EDT
Tennis – Australian Open – Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia, February 12, 2021 Canada’s Denis Shapovalov in action during his third round match against Canada’s Felix Auger Aliassime REUTERS/Asanka Brendon Ratnayake


Canadian tennis star Denis Shapovalov is keen to hit his straps ahead of bigger challenges on clay leading up to Roland-Garros. Keen to find his best form on dirt, the current World No. 14 has got himself a wildcard entry into the Millenium Estoril Open in Portugal and will look to get some matches under his belt ahead of Madrid and Rome.

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The 22-year-old, who fell to compatriot Felix Auger-Aliassime in the pre-quarters at Barcelona, said that it’s important that he gets a better feel of the surface in Portugal before competing at the Masters 1000s in Madrid and Rome.

Speaking to reporters ahead of his Estoril opener, the Canadian said that his approach remains the same regardless of the surface he plays on – to go hard at his opponents with his aggressive brand of tennis.

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“I think at the end of the day, I don’t really care who I play against. I’m going to play my game and I’m going to go for it. That’s the mindset I try to have, it doesn’t matter who is on the other side,” Shapovalov said.

Having reached the semifinal at Madrid in 2018 and Rome last year, he knows what it takes to go deep at claycourt events.

Denis Shapovalov says he is keen to get more matches under his belt on clay before traveling to Madrid and Rome

Disappointed to have suffered an early exit in Barcelona, Shapovalov had initially planned to travel to Greece and hone his skills on dirt under the watchful eyes of his team.

However, that was before the organizers of the Estoril Open reached out to him with a wildcard offer and he gladly accepted it. “I just want to play more, that’s why I chose to go to Estoril when they offered,” the 22-year-old Canadian said.

He added that if his game clicks in Portugal and he gets on a bit of a roll, it will give him a world of confidence and self-belief going into Madrid and Rome.

Tennis – Australian Open – Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia, February 8, 2021 Canada’s Denis Shapovalov in action during his first round match against Italy’s Jannik Sinner REUTERS/Asanka Brendon Ratnayake

He said that once he feels that his game is in the right place, he can fancy beating any player on his day. “So really, it’s just about that, trying to get a couple more matches in, feeling a little bit more comfortable on this surface before the big tournaments so that in those events, I can do some damage,” Shapovalov said.

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Having entered the tournament as the top seed, the Canadian wants to go all the way and lift his maiden Tour title on red soil.

DIVE DEEPER

“My Level is There” – Denis Shapovalov on Competing Against Top-Ten Players

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Priyabrata Chowdhury

1101 articles

Priyabrata Chowdhury is a tennis author for EssentiallySports. He has been a print journalist for a decade, producing news pages for leading national dailies such as the Hindustan Times and The New Indian Express. His passion for sports eventually drove him to tennis writing.

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