Shapovalov Ready To Soar To New Heights
Denis Shapovalov is aiming to soar to greater heights than in 2017, a season which saw him rise up the ATP Rankings and build upon his experience at ATP World Tour events.
After a nail-biting opening-round loss to Kyle Edmund at last week’s Brisbane International presented by Suncorp, the 18-year-old has returned to the practice courts to evoke memories of his off-season training.
“I’ve worked hard in the off-season and I feel like my game’s there, so I’m ready to play these tournaments,” said Shapovalov at the ASB Classic in Auckland. “It’s always a little bit tough at the start of the year, you don’t know where your game’s at. But I’m confident in myself and I’m sure I’m going to play great.”
On Monday, in Auckland, Shapovalov played with great confidence to defeat Brazilian qualifier Rogerio Dutra Silva 6-3, 6-2 in 57 minutes. He beat the same player en route to a life-changing run in August 2017.
As the World No. 143 and wild card entry, Shapovalov saved four match points in his opening-round against Dutra Silva at the Coupe Rogers in Montreal, before he defeated Juan Martin del Potro, Rafael Nadal and Adrian Mannarino en route to the semi-finals of the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 tournament. Last year, his position in the ATP Rankings rocketed from No. 250 to No. 51.
“There were so many emotions that week,” says Shapovalov. “I’ll never forget those feelings of beating those top players. But I’ve moved on from that now and I’m ready to focus on this season and ready to show the world that I’ve improved.”
There is no let-up for the left-handed Canadian, who now faces his idol, del Potro, in the Auckland second round on Wednesday.