In a men’s tennis dominated by the likes of Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray, Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer and more, there is a kid that rises to the occasion. The youngster’s name is Denis Shapovalov.
This happened when the 17-year-old from Canada was able to upset Nick Kyrgios in the first round of Rogers cup. The game ended 7-6 (7-2), 3-6, 6-3.
While playing in front of his countrymen in Canada, Denis did not disappoint them. He showcased his potential at such a young age while having the support of mostly Canadian fans in Toronto. He really made a mark in Tennis for his country based on his performance against Kyrgios.
Here are 5 interesting facts to know from the Canadian according to a report from ESPN’s Kamakshi Tandon:
- Get his name right
The kid wants his name to be announced properly as he is hearing it not always pronounced accurately.
He likes his name to be heard as “Shapo-valov”. There is a stop between “Shapo” and “Valov”. In addition, his first name, Denis, is also mistaken at times to “Dennis”. This irritates him since he only has a single “n” in his name.
- He has his own tennis club
With the help of his mother, Tessa, a former Tennis player, he is able to train at a Toronto-area club. This is because the club is started by his mother that is also a part of his coaching team.
- He has a one-handed backhand
There are just a few youngsters nowadays that already has a one-handed backhand. But include to that small list is this 17-year-old Shapovalov.
This is a story according to him on how that happened.
“When my mom was teaching me to hit with two hands, I started releasing with my backhand,” Denis said. But many people actually doubted his young age in using a one-hander as he also mentioned. Those people said that it is going to be tough on him. He responded to that with positivity. “I think that’s why I made my backhand as good as it is today, so much practice, so many people playing to it”, Shapovalov added.
- He enjoys the spotlight
Denis stated that he loves playing on the big stage. He showed this when he won against a more experienced Kyrgios in Toronto. The Canadian made some big serves and did not seem intimidated against a very tough opponent.
But he admitted that he was also nervous at the onset.
“At the start, I didn’t kind of know how to act and it is tough playing the first time on center court”, Shapovalov said. But by the end of the match, I felt like the crowd really liked it when I was getting pumped up,” Denis added.
- The locker room is taking note
The junior singles champion in the recent 2016 Wimbledon Open has already gained friends in just his second ATP event. Players such as players Nick Kyrgios and Mikhail Youzhny approached him after his win.
First, Kyrgios congratulated him on his performance. Nick admitted that Denis has a potential to be a top player someday. Meanwhile, Youzhny chatted him in Russian. He considers the guy as his idol growing up. He affirmed this by taking a picture with Mikhail.
While he lost his second round match against Grigor Dimitrov, 6-4/6-3, he proved that at his young age, he has something to offer in Tennis.
There is much buzz surrounding the young Canadian in the Tennis world. If he improves by leaps and bounds in the future, then he would find himself sharing the locker room with the top guys more often than not.
Photo courtesy: Laslovarga/Wikimedia