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August 8, 2017

Denis Shapovalov

Montreal, Quebec, Canada

D. SHAPOVALOV/R. Dutra Silva

4-6, 7-6, 6-4

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. What were your emotions when you arrived on the central court, then when you left with the win, signing more autographs than ever before probably?
DENIS SHAPOVALOV: Yeah, I mean, there was a lot of people out there supporting me. First of all, I want to thank them. I don't think I win this match without them. Yeah, they're so good. I've never been in an atmosphere so alive and so intense. Big thanks to them.

But, yeah, it was pretty tough out there, tough conditions. Dutra Silva is a real fighter. It was a really difficult match. Was struggling a little bit with the rhythm on my serve. Wasn't putting a lot in in the first I think two sets or first set and a half. Then I kind of found my range in the tiebreaker. I think I hit three aces or four. Then, you know, I just kept fighting. Obviously he had a couple match points.

Yeah, I just tried to stay out there as much as possible. In the third set I think I played really good tennis.

Q. Can you take us through the four match points that you were able to counter.
DENIS SHAPOVALOV: Yeah, I don't remember all of them. Honestly, it's a little bit of a blur. I remember one of them, he passed me. I hit a pretty tough volley. It was a pretty long point there.

On one of them, I remember I was pretty far back. I went for a backhand down the line, which was pretty good. I wasn't holding back. I just told myself, He's got to win it from me, I'm not going to give it to him.

Yeah, I think I did a good job to stay tough out there.

Q. How did you live that moment, central court, a lot of people?
DENIS SHAPOVALOV: Yeah, like I said, in the tiebreaker, it was very difficult. I'm sure he felt the crowd getting on him, as well. After every match point I saved, they went pretty crazy. It adds to the nerve for the other guy, as well. Yeah, like I said, I mean, they were so alive, so intense. It was really fun to be out there.

Q. You were so strong in key times on some points. Is it one of your best wins in all your career?
DENIS SHAPOVALOV: Yeah, I think in that sense, it could be a very good win of mine, I mean, just mentally speaking. I struggled a little bit in the first two sets with my game, obviously like I said, with my serve. But, yeah, I just stayed mentally tough. Had Love-40 in the second set, 5-All. Just grinding out every point.

Yeah, it's matches like this I live for and that I play for. Obviously it was very tough. But yeah, I'm happy I got the W.

Q. It seemed as though you played an aggressive style in this match. Is that indicative of how you normally play or is that because of your opponent?
DENIS SHAPOVALOV: No, no, I never try to change too much for my opponent. I mean, I try to be aggressive. I play as aggressive as possible.

I felt it was a little bit tough today actually. Dutra Silva, he hits really heavy. He had some balls that were really pushing me back. But, yeah, I tried to step in when I could have. Yeah, he was hitting pretty deep in the first two sets, so it was a little bit tough. Yeah, I tried to get it to his backhand a lot and wait for that short ball.

Q. Are you going to have to try to find a balance between playing aggressive and picking your spots?
DENIS SHAPOVALOV: Of course, I mean, you can't go for winners from the back of the court. Yeah, it's something I think I've improved on a lot actually. Even from juniors, I used to try to slap winners on every ball I would get.

But, yeah, tennis, it's more than just going for the shots. You have to have really good defense. You have to build the points. Actually, I think my clay court season helped me with that, just building the points, waiting for that short ball, playing longer rallies, just being patient.

Q. Back on central court tomorrow, del Potro. What do you have to do against him?
DENIS SHAPOVALOV: I have to play really well (laughter). Yeah, he's one of my idols. Growing up I saw him win the US Open. So it's going to be an extremely tough match.

But, yeah, you know, like I said, I live for these moments. I live to be in these matches. I think it's going to be a great battle. Hopefully I can play really well.

Q. The half volley dropshot, were you trying to drop it?

Q. One of the breakpoints, match points, you had a half volley drop. Was that desperation or were you trying to do that?
DENIS SHAPOVALOV: I'm not sure. I can't remember the point.

Q. Have you ever saved four match points before? Would that be up there?
DENIS SHAPOVALOV: I did actually. I was playing under 12s. It was 5-3 for the other guy, for this French kid. It was 40-Love. There were no ads. I saved four straight match points there and won the match. He was pretty upset, I remember (smiling).

Q. What do you say to yourself when you're facing match point?
DENIS SHAPOVALOV: I mean, obviously I tell myself, Don't miss. But yeah, I mean, I told myself, Just play loose, make him earn the point. I'm not going to seize up. In one of the match points when I had an opportunity to come in, I came in. I'm not going to change my game style and change the way I play just because it's match point.

Q. What was the mindset right after losing the first set? At what point did you think you could actually win it?
DENIS SHAPOVALOV: I thought I could win the whole time. I mean, I never lost faith. That's very important because, yeah, at times I didn't feel like I was playing great tennis. Obviously I was playing good, but I felt like I could have played better in certain points.

But, yeah, I just tried to stay tough, just kept fighting. I think I had a breakpoint or a couple chances in the second set. I felt like I was there. Then obviously after the breaker, I felt the momentum was shifting towards my way. I thought if I could get an early break, it would help me. Obviously, he saved two breakpoints. But I think I played really good tennis in the third set.

Q. You mentioned the service game. Are you able to pinpoint what happened, because your percentage went up?
DENIS SHAPOVALOV: When I broke him in the first set, I kind of felt like I was tightening up a little bit. My first-serve percentage just went down by a lot. Couldn't really find my rhythm in the first set.

In the second set, it was a little bit better, probably around 50%. But, yeah, I felt like in the tiebreaker I really loosened up and just started going for my serves. Yeah, I hit a bunch of aces there.

In the third set, that kind of continued.

Q. I spoke with Martin Laurendeau yesterday. He was saying how these big tournaments experiences are good for you. He mentioned Wayne Gretzky being around you, which draws a lot of attention, playing on the central court. How do you take in those experiences?
DENIS SHAPOVALOV: Sorry, what's your question?

Q. What does a big experience of playing in a big tournament on a central court, what does it bring to you?
DENIS SHAPOVALOV: Yeah, I mean, obviously in the match I wasn't focused on Wayne. If I was, I probably wouldn't have done well (smiling).

Yeah, it's great to have guys like this. He's honestly my biggest idol growing up. It's great to have guys like this around my matches watching me, keeping an eye out for me.

Yeah, this match is going to give me a lot of experience. Yeah, just being in that position, saving a couple match points, trying to figure out how to play the opponent, trying to figure out the serve during the match. It's really a big step for me.

Q. You talked about the toughness you had to show to get through the match points. Four of them is a lot. What do you think prepared you for those moments?
DENIS SHAPOVALOV: Yeah, I just think it's been a long season. Every match that I play I'm learning a little bit more. I'm getting a little bit more experience. I think I've done pretty well the past couple weeks. That's kind of helped me with the confidence there.

Yeah, I think that's really what it is, just level of confidence and belief in myself that even if he has a couple match points, I can turn the match around and be right there.

Q. I was curious about your relationship with Wayne Gretzky. Who approached who? How did he arrange coming here and watching?
DENIS SHAPOVALOV: My manager, like, he's best friends with Wayne. That's how it got organized. I met him once before during an Oilers-Leafs game. But that was briefly. Personally I didn't know him extremely well, but I knew him a little bit. But, yeah, my manager is best friends with him.

Q. Can you say today you were playing your best tennis of the year?
DENIS SHAPOVALOV: Would I say that?

Q. Yes.
DENIS SHAPOVALOV: I don't think I was. I mean, I was playing good tennis. I was fighting. I think in the third set I played really good tennis. But it's tough to say game-wise that was the best I've had all year.

Q. How do you feel about being named Denis?
DENIS SHAPOVALOV: I have mixed feelings on that. It's a little bit weird. Actually I have a funny story. I did Create My Own Pro in NHL in 2017, '16. There's an option to give him the name with two Ns or one N. I was like, Obviously one N.

Then the commentator started calling Denis (not pronouncing the S). I'm like, No, that's not right (laughter).

But I've gotten used to it now. Denis, Denis, as long as the support is coming my way, it doesn't really matter.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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