World no. 15 Denis Shapovalov has enjoyed another notable season on the Tour, lifting the first ATP title in Stockholm and advancing into the first Masters 1000 final in Paris. Denis hasn't always been at the highest level in 2019, winning only four matches between the semi-final run in Miami and Winston-Salem where he started to work with a former world no.
8 Mikhail Youzhny. The improvements in the Tel Aviv native were evident right from the start, choosing a better shot selection and moving around the court more efficiently to impose his booming strokes and have the upper hand on the court.
Pleased with the last part of the season, Shapovalov praised his coach and shared his thoughts about the way Mikhail managed to develop his game and raise it to another level, enough to fight for big titles and crack the top-20.
"Mikhail made me change my footwork and start moving a lot more with smaller steps and much more actively," Shapovalov said. "I feel like that just made such a big difference early on. At first, it was a little bit tough for me in practice.
I was getting tired quickly. But it paid off quickly. I feel, with that little adjustment, I was able to play a lot better and move a lot better on the court. It helped me in those matches. I was just playing at another level in terms of my footwork and variety in my game, feeling confident.
It was just a couple of slight adjustments that Youzhny made, but they went far for me, I think. From the first day, I felt like he was able to pick me up and see my game. He had a clear vision of how he sees me playing the game and how to coach me and work with me.
I think he clicked with me from the first day and the first practice; it's been very positive working with him. I felt like I was able to do whatever I wanted with the ball a lot better, that's why I was able to play well in Winston-Salem and at the US Open.
I was enjoying my time, I know that I have been playing good tennis because I was able to lift the title a couple of weeks ago. I think everything was clicking for me at that stage."