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September 1, 2017

Denis Shapovalov

New York, NY, USA


3-6, 6-3, 6-3, 1-0 [Ret.]

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Before what happened at the end happened, fair to say this wasn't at the level you had in your previous matches? You were struggling more?
DENIS SHAPOVALOV: Yeah, definitely. I mean, he won the first set. He was playing good tennis. He was playing me the right way. Yeah, I picked it up in the second. Stayed calm after the first. I knew I would have my chances. You know, I converted in the second set when I had the chance.

So I was happy with that, and, yeah, like you mentioned, it's unfortunate what happened.

Q. From even before the tournament with Novak out, Wawrinka out, Andy Murray out, so many health issues created opportunities. And then, of course, today in the middle of the match that was hard fought, your opponent retired. How would you describe the impact of all these health issues on the draw?
DENIS SHAPOVALOV: It definitely opens up the draw quite a bit. I think five out of the Top 10 guys were missing. It's pretty significant. Yeah, I mean, it's happening for a reason.

I feel like you don't just have five guys injured. It's got to be something with the scheduling, something I think the tour, the calendar might be a little bit too long. I don't know. I haven't played enough to say anything, but, you know, when you have so many guys hurt, it's not a coincidence.

Q. On that theme of opportunity, how about the opportunity for young players, given what's going on? Not just with health but results.
DENIS SHAPOVALOV: Yeah, definitely. I mean, like I said, it opens up the draw, and it helps players like myself or Andrey Rublev, who is doing well, to kind of have a chance and not play, you know -- well, Roger is here, but Novak or Andy Murray in the early stages. So it definitely helps.

Q. Is there a part of you that's, like, wow, this is a dream? When am I going to wake up? I can't even believe this is all happening?
DENIS SHAPOVALOV: Of course. The month of August has been absolutely life changing for me, and, yeah, you know, I'm actually very thankful for my team for helping me stay humble and just prepare for every match, like it's another match, but I feel like after the Open, I'm going to have a little bit of time to take it all in, everything that's been happening to me. And, yeah, you know, I'm playing great tennis and I'm just trying to take it one day at a time.

Q. It's been quite a while since somebody your age made it this far here in New York. Does it seem like it's sort of happening a lot faster than you thought it would, or did you think to yourself that you were capable of making this deeper run now?
DENIS SHAPOVALOV: Of course. When the week started, first of all, I had to go through qualifying, so, like I mentioned in other interviews, you never know who you're going to get. I had a pretty tough draw to qualify. I had Denis Kudla first round who has made third or fourth round at Wimbledon. It wasn't easy. Of course, I didn't expect those results.

I did have that confidence that, you know, that I can make it this far, but, you know, to be honest, this whole season has been going really quickly for me. My goal was to be inside the 150 by the end of the year when I had started, and, you know, now top 50 seems doable. Yeah.

Q. Three weeks ago, in the first round of the Canadian Open, you got to save four match points. Could you have imagined then being in this position now? And what could you draw from that first-round match in Canada, saving four first-record match points to this round of the 16?
DENIS SHAPOVALOV: It definitely all started from that match. I don't know. It's just the way the sport is. It happens so many times when guys save match points and they go on to win tournaments or do well, or sometimes they lose and then they get in as Lucky Loser and they go on a run.

It happens a lot. I feel like I kind of played with a second chance, a second life after that match, because I was so close to losing. From there, I just picked up my level and, yeah, just started playing well, just started getting a couple good wins, getting my confidence and momentum, and I'm playing free and playing loose.

Q. Why do you wear your hat all the way to the side like that?
DENIS SHAPOVALOV: I have a small head (smiling).

Q. Can they give you a smaller hat?
DENIS SHAPOVALOV: They can. I do have smaller hats, but it's just kind of become a little bit of my trademark (smiling). Yeah, and a couple of people are calling it the Shapo fashion.

Q. How are you sort of coping between matches? There is a lot of hype between beating Tsonga and you come back to this one. Are you watching a lot of matches on TV in between? What do you do?
DENIS SHAPOVALOV: It's difficult. I try to keep up a little bit, obviously. I watched a couple of the first two sets of Rafa yesterday, but, yeah, everything happens so quickly. I mean, after the match, it's recovery, obviously press, and then, yeah, just taking care of the body, making sure I eat right, recover. Next day I have to train.

So it's a lot of scheduling. There's not much free time, but obviously when I have a chance, I do try to just kind of keep up and watch a couple of other players.

Q. What's the role of Martin?

Q. Yes.
DENIS SHAPOVALOV: He's my coach.

Q. How do you see him?
DENIS SHAPOVALOV: He's my coach. I have been working with him for a year. He's definitely a mentor to me. I mean, I find him, you know, a great player when he played, and, yeah, I mean, when I was growing up, I saw him on the bench for Davis Cup, and, yeah, I looked up to him and he really knows what he's doing.

But yeah, we have had a really good relationship. I really like the way he works. He really makes me complement my strengths. On the other side, he's helped me a lot mentally and in those aspects of my game, so he's definitely helped me a lot this year, and, yeah, it's a lot of credit to him for my results recently.

Q. Last great match Raonic played was against Carreno Busta. Did you see that match, and did you...
DENIS SHAPOVALOV: I remember some of that, but I didn't get a chance to watch it.

Q. Carreno Busta, what do you know about him?
DENIS SHAPOVALOV: I don't know much about him. I know he's aggressive, goes for his shots, but I'm going to discuss that with Marty after.

Q. A lot of people who are older think that 18-year- olds never get tired. Can you dispel that rumor?
DENIS SHAPOVALOV: No, it's true. We don't. (Laughter.)

Yeah, it's been a long ride. I was just talking to Vasek. I said it feels like I have been here a month already. I have been enjoying my time. Luckily I have had short matches. Today was longer, but with the retirement, it was three sets, as well.

Yeah, I'm doing a good job of taking care of my body. I have a good support team around me, and, yeah, you know, I actually do feel good and really ready for my next round.

Q. Did you always have a one-handed backhand?
DENIS SHAPOVALOV: Yeah, well, what had happened was when I was, let's say, six, five or six, my mom was, well, just putting balls on a cone and I was hitting from a cone. And I would kind of swing with two hands and let go, so it was kind of natural.

My father and my mother had a little bit of a conversation. They came back to me, and they told me, Try to just release the one-hander.

From that day, I always had a one-hander. Obviously might have been a little bit tough growing up. A lot of people said you're too young or too weak to have a one-hander. Maybe you should stick to two and switch.

For me, it was always natural, and I think it's turned out to be a great weapon of mine.

Q. Can you talk a little bit about your background? Your parents went from Russia to Israel. What transpired that you guys ended up in Canada?
DENIS SHAPOVALOV: Well, they are from the Soviet Union, from Uvov (phonetic). My background is Russian. My mom moved to Israel because her coach moved. Then she played from there a little bit and she started coaching. Obviously my dad moved with her. He was with her at the time.

And then she was there for about probably 10 to 12 years. Then when she had my brother and me, they decided to move to Canada, to Toronto. And, yeah, I mean, I was born in Israel, but, you know, raised in Canada. I came over when I was nine months.

Q. What's your sense of the impact you and the other young players are making so far and can make in the remaining time at the US Open this year?
DENIS SHAPOVALOV: Yeah, we're definitely making an impact. I mean, I think Rublev is playing a little bit later today. He's been doing really well. But, yeah, there is a lot of young guys coming up and doing really well.

I said it from before, I think in a year or two, the rankings are really going to change. There is a lot of young guys coming up, and the tour has got a lot of veterans right now. It's kind of a transition time for the ATP, but, yeah, I think there is a lot of talent coming up.

Q. And this event, could it be a pivotal moment in that development?
DENIS SHAPOVALOV: I mean, I know Rublev is still in. Are there any other young guys still in the tournament?

Q. Depends how you define "young," I guess.
DENIS SHAPOVALOV: Yeah, well, I mean, I don't know. Like I said, yeah, for sure, every Grand Slam, it's a chance for young guys to prove themselves and, you know, I have been doing that. Hopefully I can keep doing that.

Yeah, guys like Rublev or anyone else still in, why not? I think everyone is beatable.

Q. Can you just step back and talk about the experience of just getting into the whole world of big-time tennis? Is it still joyous and a lot of fun? Is it sometimes a little daunting? Is there any kind of a wow moment? Just talk about the process and what goes through your head.
DENIS SHAPOVALOV: I don't think there is ever really time to kind of, you know, have that wow moment. Obviously, like I said, it's a lot to take in. The month of August, it's been life changing.

Yeah, everything kind of moves fast. I mean, like -- what was the main question again?

Q. Just what the experience is like for you as a young person.
DENIS SHAPOVALOV: Yeah, I mean, of course I have been playing my second main draw slam. It's huge. Yeah, there is a lot of new experiences, but, yeah, I mean, like I'm saying, everything kind of happens too quickly. My team kind of makes me focus one match at a time.

I don't really have time to take in everything that I have done, but I'm sure at the end of the year when I look back, you know, I'll really have time to see how far I have come in one year.

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