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September 22, 2017

Denis Shapovalov

Patrick McEnroe

Prague, Czech Republic


Prague, Czech Republic

22 September, 2017

A. ZVEREV/D. Shapovalov

7-6, 7-6

Europe - 3

The World - 0

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. The matchup between you and Alex is a little bit intriguing, because obviously you are both very young and talented, but interestingly enough, both of you have Russian heritage; yet you are Canadian and he's a German. Because of that, you are playing on the opposite teams. I was wondering if this matchup has kind of a special feel for you and if you see it becoming a great rivalry in the future like, for example, John and Björn and Roger and Rafa?
DENIS SHAPOVALOV: Well, first of all, I want to say, yeah, it was a special match today. Not because I was playing Zverev but because I was playing in front of guys like Rod Laver and Roger and Rafa, all of them sitting there watching me. Just this event, it's such an honor to be a part of.

I was so happy to be on this team, and it was unbelievable to be out there on the court. It was honestly so fun for me.

Against Zverev, for sure, why not? He's an unbelievable player, No. 4 in the world right now. He's had such a great year. To have a chance to push him, and I thought I could have won that match, it's motivating for me, but I'm sure we are going to play so many times in the future if we both keep improving. Yeah, and why not? Why not have a healthy rivalry?

Q. Every time I see you I'm asking the same question. I will ask you again. Seems like every event you're at, you are playing on main stages, center courts. You just finished Davis Cup. That was important. Now you're here, you're playing the night match in front of all these people. Talk about taking all this as an 18-year-old in stride and just so much coming at you so fast and just how you sort of handle it going forward and not getting too hyped up about every time you're playing somewhere.
DENIS SHAPOVALOV: For me, like I said, it's so much fun today to be on court. You know, first of all have Johnny Mac on my side, helping me out and having Björn Borg on the other side coaching Zverev. It's such a crazy feel, having all these legends looking at you. Just the event, it's -- like I said, it's such an honor to be there.

I'm enjoying these moments. It's what I grew up wanting to do, play on big stages. Rogers Cup, US Open, playing for Davis Cup, and this event, these are just weeks, just dreams coming true for me. Yeah, I'm just enjoying every minute of it.

Q. When you look at the two matches you have played against him, Montreal and here, given that he's two years older, obviously has more experience, what does he do that you don't yet do? Or what do you have to work at so that in a couple of years' time you're competing as a real equal against him?
DENIS SHAPOVALOV: I think he's an unbelievable player, first of all, has so much talent, such a big guy, unbelievable serve, so tough to read. He moves so well. You can see that he's done a lot of work to really stabilize the baseline and just be solid.

I think that's something, for sure, I'm lacking in my game right now. I needed to get more solid on the back. And just his serve, you know, it's so tough to read. He serves so well.

But, yeah, there's many things I think I need to improve. I mean, returns, volleys, coming in more. There's countless amounts of things I can work on. So, you know, I'm not worried. It's a long road ahead, and there is going to be, you know, a lot more hard work that I'm going to have to put into it.

VICE-CAPTAIN PATRICK McENROE: I think all of what have Denis said is right. By the way, the score was 7-6, 7-6, so it was pretty close (smiling).

Q. Can you talk us through the antics of your teammates? Were they doing push-ups? Were you ready for that?
DENIS SHAPOVALOV: They are amazing. It was so much fun. I was laughing on the court. They're unreal.

Yeah, the team atmosphere is, like, it's the best part team or anything I have been -- I mean, obviously, I haven't been on too many teams because it's an individual sport, but all the guys are so, you know, so upgoing and so much fun to be around. You can see that on the sidelines. They really support you. You know, they're just out there enjoying themselves, too. It's such a great team to be a part of.

Q. You're getting a bit of what you miss out on, by being an individual sportsman, you're getting a bit of what team sportsmen get on a daily basis?
DENIS SHAPOVALOV: Yeah, exactly. I got lucky. We got a really fun and good team to be around. Yeah, I love playing team competition, just because it's a different feel. You're no longer just playing for yourself. You're playing for a whole group of guys.

So it's a pretty cool feeling. And unfortunately I wasn't able to get a point today for my team, but, yeah, you know, hopefully we can make the comeback.

Q. Alexander, just a little while ago, was talking about the group sessions that they have, and I think you alluded to it the other day, as well, about the older members of the team talking about stories and things like that. He indicated about Roger and Rafa talking about the Wimbledon finals that they have played, et cetera, et cetera. Any one story stood out for you with your group, John and Patrick, some of the senior members?
DENIS SHAPOVALOV: I mean, well, you guys played before my time, so I didn't grow up watching them. But, you know, I have heard so much about them. My manager was pretty good buddies with John. I have heard so many fun stories that they went through when they were younger.

So to actually have a chance to meet you two and -- yeah, I met John at US Open, and you, as well, and just to spend some time with these two great guys, it's unbelievable for me. On the court with Johnny Mac today, he told me a lot of good little feedbacks that I'm really going to try and implement. They are just really wise and really great guys.

Q. I was meaning any stories that have come out over the last couple of days when you will have actually been in a group together.
DENIS SHAPOVALOV: Oh. I don't know. There's nothing crazy. It's been like pretty short practice days, but, yeah, I don't know. Nothing specific really comes to mind.

VICE-CAPTAIN PATRICK McENROE: Some things aren't meant for kids that are so young. You know what I'm saying, Craig? He's only 18. (Laughter.)

DENIS SHAPOVALOV: Yeah, they keep me out of a lot of stuff. No, I'm kidding. (Laughter.)

VICE-CAPTAIN PATRICK McENROE: Get John and Björn going. You never know what's going to happen (smiling).

Q. What's your goal for the rest of the season? And what's your goal for the next year, main goal for the next year?
DENIS SHAPOVALOV: Well, I haven't thought of next year yet. Let's finish this one. Then I'll move on.

But my first goal would be to finish top 50. Then if I do achieve that, you know, I'll probably go top 40. But I don't know, like -- I'm happy with where I am right now. I think it's more important for me to improve a lot in the offseason. There is a lot of things that I can work on to really, to help implement these things, you know, for the next season so I can really strengthen my game up. Because I still feel there are a couple of holes.

But yeah, I mean, if I do reach top 50, I'm just going to play out the season, probably just enjoying a little bit, and, yeah, like I said, I'm happy with where I stand.

Q. As Patrick said, you're only 18, but do you feel sometimes the pressure? You're only talking about the pleasure to be on court and have a lot of fun. Do you feel sometimes a little bit of pressure? You seem so relaxed. What about your play? You seem so relaxed.
DENIS SHAPOVALOV: Of course there is always pressure there, but, yeah, I don't know. I'm just enjoying my time. I'm just enjoying the opportunities of being on the court. So I'm not really feeling that pressure.

But, you know, I'm only 18. There's still so many years and so many things I could achieve. I have so many chances to do so. So when I'm going out on the court these days, I'm just going out there to enjoy and do the thing I love, which is to play tennis.

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