Denis Shapovalov had the upset of the Roger’s Cup and quite possibly the tennis circuit this season. On Thursday night the 18-year-old came from behind and beat World number 2 Rafael Nadal.
Nadal said after the 3-6 6-4 7-6 (6-4) upset, ‘It’s my worst loss of the year because it’s my loss to the opponent with the lowest ranking and because I had the chance to be world number one.”
— Jamie McGinn (@JamieMcGinn88) August 11, 2017
Shapovalov OH CANADA, the burden of Canada is yours, “carry the torch high”
— Joe Romito (@JoeMarcheTania) August 11, 2017
It’s been quite the comeback not only on the court for Shapovalov, but in the public’s eye. He was disqualified for hitting an umpire in the face with a tennis ball at the Davis Cup, the man had to get surgery on his eye.
Here is a transcript of Shapovalov’s post match interview:
Q. Three weeks ago you were playing a challenger in Granby. Tonight you beat Rafael Nadal in front of a packed house. Are things going too fast for you right now? Do you realize what’s happening?
DENIS SHAPOVALOV: It’s a very fast pace right now. It’s a lot to take in, obviously. But, you know, honestly, to be honest, I’m very thankful that I’m in this position. If I didn’t save those four match points in the first round, there wouldn’t even be a chance to play Juan Martinez [sic] or Rafa. I’m very thankful for that.
I’m very thankful to have Wayne and Penny by my side. Very inspiring. All that put together, I’m very thankful.
Q. Earlier we asked Rafa if he was surprised your nerves didn’t break during the game. How were your nerves during the game?
DENIS SHAPOVALOV: Yeah, I think I stayed pretty calm. I played really well in the big moments. I didn’t get as tight as yesterday. I’m not sure why. I just played really free in the tiebreaker.
But yeah, I mean, it’s difficult to say how I was feeling during the match. It was extremely hard physically and mentally. Rafa is such a warrior. Such a tough match.
I’m just so happy to come out with the win.
Q. What was it like playing against him, the player he is, the ball he hits, seeing him on the other side of the net?
DENIS SHAPOVALOV: Yeah, it’s so tough. A lot of the times he just hits a shot that’s way too good. I was managing to get a lot back when I could. But, you know, he’s honestly the best player I’ve ever played in my life.
Yeah, you could tell why he’s won so many Grand Slams. His ball was just so heavy. He’s such a warrior out there. So it’s honestly, like, a dream come true for me to beat a player like that.
Q. Many players folded against Rafa in tough situations. Today’s tiebreaker when you were down Love-3, how did you manage to keep your composure and not fold?
DENIS SHAPOVALOV: Yeah, I think it’s really tough. I don’t know if a lot of players fold or if he just outplays them at the end.
I think today, yeah, I was down 3-0 in the tiebreaker. I did a good job to regroup. I knew I had to win both the points off my serve. Yeah, then he gave me a double to tie it up.
But, yeah, it was a tough match. A tough match the whole way. Yeah, I just tried to stay calm, tried to play every point, go for my shots. At the end of the day I really tried to keep playing my game and stick to my tactics. Yeah, I think I did that really well.
Q. This will probably go down as one of the biggest tennis wins for a Canadian in Canadian history. What does it mean to you to be grouped into some of the other matches like Nestor-Edberg, for example?
DENIS SHAPOVALOV: Yeah, it’s incredible. I’m actually very honored to be compared to Nestor, that match against Edberg. It’s what I dreamed of all my life growing up, playing guys like Rafa, Roger, Andy. You know, my dream came true today.