On Thursday, Denis Shapovalov met with the media ahead of the U.S. Open qualifications, in which he will take part, next week. And for the world N°67, there is still a lot to do in order to compete with the best of them.
“It’s quite a change”, the 18-year-old said about his new top 100 status. “Personally, I don’t feel like I’m that ranking. [The Coupe Rogers] was one incredible week. But I still feel like I’m the same guy I was when I was 140. I still have a lot of work to do to kind of secure my spot in that position, and just try to keep moving forward and be able to compete with the top 100, top 50 players.”
Down-to-earth, you say? That he is and some! Of course, he does enjoy his new fame. However, “at the end of the day, I have to get back and refocus myself”, he said. “There’s still a lot of work to do for me to achieve my dreams.”
“Everyone goes at their own pace. For me, last week was a big confidence boost because I feel like I’m able to compete with those guys. I pulled off some tough matches and I know it’s not going to be like that every week.”
No wild card? Shapovalov does not resent the USTA
In view of his incredible week in Montreal and his phenomenal upsurge in the rankings, many were those who expected Denis Shapovalov to receive a wild card for the U.S. Open main draw.
In the end, it was not to be for the Canadian, who will have to play the qualifications of the last Major of the season. The remaining six wild cards (two were “reciprocated” ones to French and Aussie players) all went to U.S. players.
Does he resent the USTA’s decision? Not a bit. “It would’ve been great to get a wild card [for the U.S. Open], but I clearly understand the USTA situation”, he said. “They’re trying to look after their own guys and their own players, just like Canada will look after me or after Félix [Auger-Aliassime], so it’s nothing bad at all.”
“I’m very excited to go there”, he added. “I think a lot of people will try to come out and watch. I’m reading on Twitter that a lot of people are excited to come see me at the U.S. Open. So hopefully I can play well there. It’s tough. You can get a really tough quallies rounds but I’ll take it one match at the time. I’m getting really confident and I believe in myself.”
Denis Shapovalov will not be the only young Canadian to take part in the U.S. Open qualifications. The young man has confirmed that his friend Félix Auger-Aliassime, finally recovered from a wrist injury, will also be playing.
What more can we ask for?