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June 19, 2017

Denis Shapovalov

London, England


7-6, 4-6, 6-4

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. It was quite a tight match throughout. How do you feel coming through that, such a big stage like that?
DENIS SHAPOVALOV: Yeah, I mean, it's tough. Kyle's an unbelievable player. The whole match it was very close, very tight. Yeah, it was very tough to be out there, but I was enjoying it. I was enjoying the fight.

The crowd was unbelievable today. It was just fun to be out there.

Q. Do you have a feeling that you played great on the few points that were really important for the outcome of the match? You can recognize the points that were important? You played well during those?
DENIS SHAPOVALOV: Yeah, I mean, it's tough to pick out a couple of points. I think I played a very clutch tiebreak in the first set. That's basically what tennis is. It's a matter of a couple points. At 5-4 in the third, he gave me two doubles so he got a little bit tight.

I played a good point. You know, he played two unbelievable points to bring it to 30-40, and then I made a very good return and played out a very good point, so that's another big point. I think I did a very good job to stay close in the match. He had a very good start in the second set, and he was kind of pulling away with it. But I stayed close, had an advantage, started serving in the third set, and just tried to take care of business on my serve and try to break.

Q. Your serve is obviously a huge weapon. How much confidence does that give you to play the rest of your game in an aggressive way?
DENIS SHAPOVALOV: Yeah, of course it's a great benefit to my game, but I think it's also, at the same time, sometimes a curse, because when it goes away it's a little bit tough to find other ways to win. It's a little bit what I felt happened, especially in the beginning of the second set, but throughout the second and third set I felt I was struggling a little bit with the rhythm on my serve, but I think I did a very good job of kind of thinking how to solve it and making up for -- you know, I tossed in a little bit more kick serves, and I was mixing it up throughout the box really well.

Yeah, I think it really helps my game.

Q. Sorry to hark back to Ottawa again, but this is the first chance we have had to speak to you since then. When we left Ottawa that day we thought that could maybe have an adverse effect on your career, but you have bounced back really well. How proud are you the way you have bounced back since? And today seems to be a significant moment.
DENIS SHAPOVALOV: Yeah, I think it definitely had an impact on my life, on my family's life, everyone that's close to me. Yes, it hasn't been easy. Especially at the time it was very tough with everyone's comments. You know, just things that were happening.

Yeah, I stuck to it. People that were close with me, the fans that weren't upset with me, they were having my back. Even Arnaud, Arnaud was very nice about it, and we text each other, you know, monthly or weekly.

So, yeah, I think a couple things helped me get through it. But I was guided very well to deal with the situation. Obviously on my own it would have been tough. So, yeah, having a lot of good people around me really helped.

And also, I just think I have matured from that incident, and it's really helped my game on court, I think. You know, today, staying so mentally patient and so calm during the big points really helped me, you know, take the W. I still feel like I have a lot of room to improve mentally, and I have gone a long way from Davis Cup. Yeah, I just hope to keep improving.

Q. Arnaud, the fact that he's been in touch since, that's generally helped you in the recovery?
DENIS SHAPOVALOV: Yeah, of course. The referee could have taken it harshly. Arnaud could have -- if it was a different guy, it could have been different. He could have been really mean about it. But Arnaud is just probably one of the greatest guys I have met. He's such a nice man. Not one negative thought even from right when it happened towards me.

He was all right. He was joking with me in the locker room after it happened. You know, he said, Now maybe the chicks will like me and stuff (smiling).

But, yeah, he's really helped me get through this. We have been texting here and there. It's really good. It's ironic that we have become friends, but I think it's really helped me. I'm really thankful for him and the way he handled it.

Q. Have you heard Novak recently said difficult paths lead to beautiful destinations?
DENIS SHAPOVALOV: Yeah. I mean, there we go (smiling). Yeah, I mean, yeah, he's a great speaker, I guess, yeah.

Q. You had a great reception out there today. You were playing Kyle again. Did you feel any more apprehensive going into it today and playing Kyle again?
DENIS SHAPOVALOV: I don't think it was the fact I was playing Kyle. It was more the fact playing a guy from this country, playing on centre court. I didn't know how the crowd was going to be. I didn't know -- before the match I felt pretty tight, to be honest.

Once I got into it, it was fine. I didn't have many thoughts except I was thinking please don't do anything dumb this match. So many cameras on me.

But, yeah, I mean, I didn't really think about the incident. It was a new match. It's behind me now. So it was -- yeah, it was just like any other tennis match.

Q. You had this great grass court season in the juniors last year. Did you play much on grass growing up? Are there many grass courts in Canada?
DENIS SHAPOVALOV: There is none. I don't know. Maybe there is like one club in Toronto, but I have never stepped foot on it. For me, I don't know. It was kind of natural.

The first year I went, I remember I was playing a futures, playing Canadian Phil Bester. He was first seed. If I would have won that match -- it was first round of a futures. I didn't have a point back then. If I would have won that match, I wouldn't have went to Wimbledon, but I kind of just squeaked right into qualifying at Roehampton and Wimbledon.

I was playing. My parents were waiting, having the tickets on hold. It was tight in the third set and I think I ended up losing 6-4 or 7-5. At the time -- I wasn't too upset, because Philip's an unbelievable player, and I made it really tight and had chances even, but I think it was interesting for me to go on grass that one time.

I had one day to practice. And then I actually had a pretty tough draw. I drew Michael -- the younger one. Elias? No. Mikael Ymer. He was 12 in the world. He forgot to sign up. I played him first round. Tight match. I lost. I qualified for Wimby. Beat world No. 5 first round.

So I felt good from that. And then going into the next year -- you know, those two weeks in juniors, that's it for grass. You never set foot on it again. Going in the following week, I won Roehamton, won Wimbledon. So I had good feelings, but obviously every year I'm going in I had a little bit doubt, would I play the same, would I have the same feelings on court going from juniors to pro.

But I have been playing just as great as I did last year, even better. So I think it's a -- I think it's a surface I really enjoy.

Q. The crowd was really good with you today. They were supporting you. Do you think matches like this help you not being remembered only as the guy who hit the umpire just in the early stage of your career?
DENIS SHAPOVALOV: Yeah, of course. I mean, I'm very thankful for the crowd today. They were very respectful. Very, very respectful. It was incredible to see and be a part of. There were so many people cheering me on. Just as much as I think Kyle. So to play at home and you would expect the whole crowd to be with you, but, yeah, I mean, feels like these fans, they just want to see great tennis. They just enjoy watching good points. Yeah, like I said, I'm extremely thankful for them.

Q. You appeared to be fired up the whole match. I was watching pretty close. Did you believe the entire time that you had chances today?
DENIS SHAPOVALOV: Yeah, for sure. I mean, if I didn't believe, there's no point in going out on the court, right? I knew it was going to be tough. Kyle, like I said, he's an unbelievable player and he's gonna achieve great things I think in his career.

But yeah, I mean, first of all, I just wanted to go and enjoy this match, because I went through a tough qualifying. I didn't even expect to qualify. You know, I was down match point. So just to be able to accomplish that, I was playing very free. Yeah, I think when I'm playing great tennis, I get really fired up, because I'm just really enjoying it on court.

Q. You play Tomas Berdych next. Do you think you will be able to be aggressive the whole time even against a player at such a high level?
DENIS SHAPOVALOV: Yeah, I think it's going to be difficult. He's a big server, big shot maker, so it's going to be tough. But I'm going to stick to my game plan. Gonna serve big, go for my shots. If I have to adjust in the match, I will, but, you know, I always stick to my game plan and I always try to be the aggressor.

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