"It's just so frustrating as a player...you're not just playing against the player, you're playing against the umpires; you're playing against so much more," Canada's Denis Shapovalov says of the conditions happening in the Melbourne quarterfinal match with Rafael Nadal.
It was gruelling to go through a strenuous 5-set of 3-6, 4-6, 6-4, 6-3, 3-6 then lose it. But all the moving pieces weren't just physical as the Canadian explained to the Chair ump Carlos Bernandes but giving Nadal more time than warranted on the playing clock.
The first set was the crucial time of emotions flowing which could have psychologically contributed to the Canadian's loss of the match. Other players most likely have been through this. In the first set Shapovalov dropped at 3-6.
He was infuriated and possibly still fuming and also dropped the second set 4-6. "Physically I feel fine, just emotionally more, it just sucks to lose that one," Shapovalov said during the press conference. But there was great shotmaking from him at the set's opening minutes, just not enough to seal the set.
In the third set there wasn't just a change of Shapovalov's shirt but his game had a whole new dimension. He had corrected errors made in the first two sets to defuse Nadal's game. The Canadian's backhand was stinging Nadal and pushing out winners that the Spaniard had not expected.
Finding the opening court, taking advantage of volleying, Shapovalov was performing more differently than the first two sets and it showed in his 6-4 set win. Denis had kept the momentum alive and produced great corner shots that Rafa had not planned on.
The Canadian had a whole new attitude and much of the crowd was starting to applaud and be on the side of the underdog. The fan support helped to give Shapovalov an edge but it was short-lived once Nadal bounced back to take control.
He was hitting and diving for that one more ball and felt gutted but with extra energies, he was able to win the set and capture the quarterfinal round. Shapovalov at the end was still disgruntled but gave Nadal credit saying "..I think he's an unbelievable player...there's got to be some boundaries, some rules set..."
he had said to the umpire Carlos that "You guys are all corrupt." Afterwards, the Denis was asked if he feels Nadal gets preferential treatment and he blasted "Of course, 100 percent he does." It might have been better for the Canadian to cut his losses, throw the time clock conditions over his shoulder and play his game.
Rafael Nadal admitted saying "I was feeling destroyed." But unfortunately, Shapovalov couldn't win the deciding set to proclaim the quarterfinal round.