It was just his second tour level match. He had the opportunity, and he pulled off the upset. Meet Denis Shapovalov, the 18 year old Canadian who stunned World No. 19 Nick Kyrgios in just his second World Tour tournament appearance to register his first and biggest win (as of now) of a career that is in the making.
The left hander, who sports an unconventional one handed backhand produced some absolute rippers against fellow young gun Kyrgios with his trademark shot. And what’s more: there seems to be no stopping him as he is cheered by his home crowd in Toronto at the Rogers Cup. At the Canadian Open, Shapovalov reached the semi-final, even defeating Rafael Nadal in the process. In this article, we have a look at the life of the young Canadian.
Wanted to play Hockey
You heard that right. The fair haired Canadian wanted to play hockey as a child. Seems fine because the Canadian National Sport is also quite appealing, but his parents wouldn’t allow him to do so, for the fear that he might get injured. Seems to be a valid enough reason. And we’re glad that Tennis has him. Better Luck Next Time Ice Hockey.
Before he was up, playing with the big boys, Shapovalov had a rather interesting Junior Career. The progression of his career has been remarkable. From a few early round appearances in his first few tournaments to a semifinal in the Junior French Open 2016 and a Wimbledon Title that followed, it seems as if the Canadian has improved throughout his career. What a prospect.
You look at his game, and think that it had to be Federer from the start, with just a tinge of the left handed Rafa. Having shown grit and grace, aggression and composure right through the match, his parallels with Federer have been welcomed by him. Shapovalov accepts the fact that he has based his game on Federer’s, with a similar one handed backhand. But what comes as a surprise is his idolization of fellow Canadian Milos Raonic. “He’s my inspiration. Before that, there were not many Canadians doing as good as he was. For sure he brings hope into my eyes. I hope to be like him one day”, he says. “Hopefully I will be in a Wimbledon final one day, just like Milos.”
Shapovalov was born in Tel Aviv, Israel, to Russian -Jewish parents. His father Voktor played volleyball and his mother was a tennis coach. The family moved to Canada when Denis was nine months old. He started playing tennis when he was 5 with his mother, Tessa, as his coach. When he was 12, his mother opened the Tessa Tennis Program, a junior development program. She continued to be his coach until he was 13 — and still helps him. He is currently coached by Adriano Fuorivia and his mother.
The future of Canadian Tennis seems bright, given the most recent exploits at this year’s Wimbledon. Hopefully, he can follow in Milos Raonic’s footsteps to become the second Canadian Male to enter a Grand Slam. But let’s just hope he lives up to his expectations and wins one. A player with promise, we just wish him luck.
Rahul is a tennis enthusiast and loves to write about sports in general. His inspirations are Rafael Nadal, Michael Phelps and Roger Federer.