Tennis is an unpredictable sport, and Canada’s Denis Shapovalov might know it quite well. After his semi-successful campaign at the Miami Open -- where Roger Federer prevented him from reaching the final in a straight 6-2 6-4 -- the 20-year-old has proved unable to win more than one match during tournaments.
With a record of 15-15 in what goes of the year, NextGen ATP Finals contender has rolled down to the 27th place in the ATP rankings, from where he can only look up at the golden 20 cases, his perch earlier in April. Dispatched in Wimbledon singles main draw by Ricardas Berankis in the first round, with a 7-6(0) 6-4 6-3 score, Shapovalov is far from meeting the expectations set for him since the beginning of the grass season.
His evolution in Stuttgart -- first lawn tournament he played -- was cut short by Jan-Lennard Struff, while Juan Martin Del Potro got the best of him in the Queens opening round. The Canadian suffered both defeats in straight 7-5 6-4.
However, low spirits cannot get the better when your dream is to play at the best levels. “When I kinda had that big breakthrough, I went from just a guy that has potential to all of the sudden preparings for tournaments and travelling.
It’s a pretty busy job. It’s become something that I really enjoy doing,” Shapovalov told NikeCourt in videos shared on the brand’s Instagram stories. “I remind myself ‘You love that feeling of holding the racket, going out there, playing in front of all these people and just putting on a show, and playing tennis.’ That’s what really always brings me back and motivates me to just keep working hard.
I just love the sport”. The next step for the Canadian seems to be the ATP 500 in Washington, where he will run for the title against some big names such as Stefanos Tsitsipas, Kei Nishikori, and his countryman Felix Auger-Aliassime.