Shapovalov: Separating The Person From The Athlete
Talented Canadian Denis Shapovalov has made a slow start to his 2023 season. The lefty owns a 6-6 record entering his third-round match at the Miami Open presented by Itau and has not won consecutive matches since the Australian Open.
But as the 23-year-old has battled adversity, he has kept the big picture in mind.
“I think at the end of the day, first of all if things are not going well, you can have it way worse. I’m fortunate enough to be in the position that I am and trying to be the best possible,” Shapovalov told ATPTour.com. “But it’s just a sport. It’s just a game. Obviously I want to be better and sometimes I’m frustrated on the court. But I think I do a good job of just not carrying it over because we’re very lucky. I’m living a good life.
“I think in general being a person, it’s different. You’re an athlete but at the end of the day you’re a person, so I always try to treat people like I’d want to be treated. I think it’s from my upbringing as well.”
According to Shapovalov, “life in general has been pretty awesome”. Despite losing five of his past seven matches, he has kept things in perspective.
“I think a big part of that is obviously Mirjam [Bjorklund], my girlfriend. First of all we’ve just been able to spend a lot more time together and do fun stuff,” Shapovalov said. “I feel like wherever we are, we always think of fun things to do, things to see and restaurants and stuff like that to go to. I just feel like life is super fun.
“I’m enjoying it a lot, being by her side. I think she’s an amazing person and she makes me very happy. Not much more you can ask for.”
In Miami, Shapovalov enjoyed supporting Bjorklund from the stands as she qualified for the prestigious tournament and advanced to the second round of the main draw. Away from the court, you would not know the Canadian has not had the best start to the season.
“It’s always about manners, it’s honestly about always treating people the way I would want to be treated,” Shapovalov said. “It doesn’t really matter if you’re the best player in the world, the worst player in the world. It’s a separate thing in my opinion than being a person.”
All is not bad on the court, either. The Canadian has achieved plenty in tennis.
Shapovalov has cracked the Top 10 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings, claimed more than $10 million in prize money and earned thousands if not millions of fans around the world with his dynamic, aggressive game.
The 2019 Miami semi-finalist knows that when his game starts clicking, he will again be able to challenge the best players on the ATP Tour.
“One hundred per cent. I think that’s always kind of been my game. I’m going to have ups and downs and that’s just kind of the way it goes when you’re an aggressive player,” Shapovalov said. “I just need to sort of stick to my core values, stick to my game, and know that I’m going to have some good runs and some bad runs.”
Shapovalov will hope Miami marks the start of a good run. The lefty plays No. 1 American Taylor Fritz in the third round.