Top-ranked Canadian Denis Shapovalov is looking forward to his St. Petersburg campaign as he has good memories from the tournament and now he hopes to make a deep run. Shapovalov, ranked at No. 12 in the world, is seeded at No.
2 and he opens his campaign against lucky loser Viktor Troicki. Shapovalov, who debuted at the St. Petersburg event in 2018, made the quarterfinal back then, before losing to Martin Klizan. "Last time I lost in the QFs of the tournament, but the memories are good.
I really love St. Petersburg, I like to play here. In two years I have grown up not only as a player, but also as a person. Mikhail Youzhny, my coach, helped me a lot," Shapovalov said in St. Petersburg, per Max Gao.
Shapovalov enjoys working with coach Mikhail Youzhny
Youzhny, a former world No.
8, finished his career at the St. Petersburg event in 2018. Back then, the Russian beat Mirza Basic in the first round before losing to Roberto Bautista Agut in the round-of-16. Youzhny is now the coach of 21-year-old Shapovalov.
"I think [Mikhail Youzhny] helped me to become smarter on court. He helped me to play smarter. I always had strength in the game but now we are working a lot with him to make me play smarter," Shapovalov said. "He takes everything very seriously.
I believe that we have established a good rapport. We understand each other very well and I know when we can work hard and when we can relax a little bit. "I keep asking him when he will be back on the tour again. I ask him if he wants to play doubles with me.
I haven’t managed to get him to the court yet (laughter). "We all have to switch from one surface to another very quickly. It’s tough now. [Youzhny & I] discussed that now we spend time only in hotels & on the courts, we do not breathe fresh air at all.
You don’t feel this fresh air when you are playing indoors," Shapovalov noted. Shapovalov, a former world No. 10, wants to return to the top-10 and make the Nitto ATP Finals this season. "I wanted to get into the top 10 for a long time, even if only for a week.
It was a big goal for me. This gives me additional motivation to get back into the top 10 again and stay there. I will try to make it to London (ATP Finals) by the end of the season," Shapovalov added.