Denis Shapovalov. Remember the name. His evolution is great and he could be the next big thing if he stays healthy and humble. Last year he was a junior, now he is competing with the top players.
Everything clicked a month ago, at the Canadian Open. The Canadian youngster, taking power from the home crowd, took his career and level of play to new heights. He beat Del Potro and Nadal in the process, denying the world number one ranking for the Spaniard. Unbelievable! Before that tournament he was playing challengers.
His explosiveness and spectacular style of play made him the talk of the tennis world. I was waiting for so long to see a youngster hitting a one-hand backhand. So artistic and powerful. He didn’t just win those matches, he made a show, people were entertained. Great rallies and emotional points.
Then US Open came. He didn’t receive a wild card, so he won the qualifiers to make the main draw. That alone was a notable performance for a teenager. But he didn’t stop there, he made it to the second week. He won against the likes of Tsonga, but was stopped in the fourth round by a determined and more experienced Spaniard, Carreno. But he didn’t leave without a fight, he lost that match in a three tie-break sets.
Will he stay focused? Will he remain humble and continue to work hard? A month ago he was close to 200 in the world and now he is knocking at the top 50 door. He still needs a lot more experience and results. It’s still really early to say, but his style is definitely exciting.
And now Davis Cup. Representing again the country. And it seems that he is the team’s main gun. The finest asset. Their hope in singles. Raonic being already injured, was joined to warm the bench by Pospisil (back injury). Instead, they got in singles a player with only two pro matches, both lost. So an eighteen years old has the responsibility to give his team a chance. Can he take the pressure? He won the first match, but only just. It’s interesting to observe if he can take the pressure.
Weak line-ups for Davis Cup because of the top players’ injuries. Notable players missing are Djokovic (Serbia), Wawrinka and Federer (Switzerland), Berdych (Czech Republic), Nishikori (Japan) and Raonic (Canada). Being anyway a Cup of surprises, now it got even more opened.
Still some interesting match-ups like: Goffin-Kyrgios (will the Belgian finally step up and take a win in front of the Aussie?), Tsonga-Lajovic (the Serbian looks ready to fight for his team, continuing his fine form which saw him causing issues for Nadal at the US Open). What the young Russians, Rublev and Khachanov will do? Interesting…