He’s eighteen, Canadian, and has a killer backhand
By Katie Czenczek, Staff Writer
If tennis grunts are not reason enough to tune into the Canada vs. India Davis Cup match, then witnessing Denis Shapovalov’s rise to fame should suffice. Merely eighteen years old, Shapovalov has been surprising tennis fans and experts alike, especially after his defeat over Rafael Nadal in the Rogers Cup in August earlier this year. If Nadal was to beat Shapovalov and make it to semi-finals, he would have reclaimed the number one ranking in the world. Upon losing to the kid from Richmond Hill, Nadal said in a press release after the match, “I wish him the best. He has everything to become a great player. He played with the right determination in the important moments.”
Shapovalov’s wins throughout this year have moved him up in rankings from 250 to 69 after only being considered a pro since 2016. He was the youngest player to make it to semifinals in the Masters 1000 tournament and it is very clear what has allowed him to improve within such a short span of time. “Yeah, for me, first of all, I play for myself, not for whatever people think of me,” the young star said in an interview with ASAP Sports.
Born in Tel Aviv, Israel, Shapovalov moved to Richmond Hill, Ontario when he was a young child, where his passion for tennis began. During the US Open, where he did not qualify for wildcard status as he received his top 100 ranking too late, he still managed to make it to the fourth round before the final major for singles in the season came to an end.
However, his tennis season is far from over. Recently, he has been chosen to represent Canada in the Davis Cup team tennis tournament alongside fellow Canadians Vasek Pospisil, Brayden Schnur, and Daniel Nestor. Martin Laurendeau, Canada’s team captain, has helped mentor Shapovalov.
Canada is hoping to bounce back against India in the upcoming match after an unfortunate disqualification. During the Canada vs. Britain Davis Cup match in February of this year, Sharpovalov hit the umpire in the face with the tennis ball after his frustrations got the best of him. He was fined $7,000 for the incident and has publicly apologized for his unprofessional behaviour. It does seem as if he has matured significantly as both a player and a person since the disqualification in February, as he was able to stay level-headed while facing some of the biggest names in tennis. Be sure to watch the Davis Cup when this rising star has the chance for redemption.