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January 17, 2018

Denis Shapovalov

Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

J. TSONGA/D. Shapovalov

3-6, 6-3, 1-6, 7-6, 7-5

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. What did you talk about with Martin?
DENIS SHAPOVALOV: We haven't talked about the match much yet. Just said, Bad luck.

It's a sport, it happens, so...

Q. When you're up 2-5 in the final set, did you feel like you couldn't let the match get away?
DENIS SHAPOVALOV: No. I mean, there's always nerves in a tennis match. Like I said, it's a sport. I wasn't thinking about it much. Just didn't play a good game on my serve. Then he picked up his level.

Yeah, nothing too bad there. I mean, I'm just going to learn from it and keep going.

Q. He made a spectacular between-the-leg shot. Were you thrown off at all by what he had to do to get that ball back?
DENIS SHAPOVALOV: I don't know. I mean, it was a great get. I don't know. I didn't think much of it. I mean, it was an unbelievable shot, don't get me wrong. Yeah, I just refocused the next point. I don't think it threw me off.

He definitely picked up his level. He started making a lot of good shots. His forehand started penetrating, yeah.

Q. Is that the longest match you've played, toughest physically, given the number of circumstances, number of sets?
DENIS SHAPOVALOV: Probably. I played a couple five-setters. One was at the NextGen finals but that was shortened sets, and one was at Davis Cup, but that was on fast courts and the sets were pretty short.

This was the longest, in the heat. Physically, I feel good. My body is getting a little bit tight on me now. On the court, I felt pretty good. I'm happy with that.

Q. I heard many players playing in the slams saying, This is my first time I played a five-setter. Do you see any way this problem could be solved in terms of experience? What would you suggest to do? Would you like to see Grand Slams play best-of-three?
DENIS SHAPOVALOV: I would suggest to everyone to try to win in three. That would be the easiest solution (smiling).

No, I mean, it's tough to expect. I remember I had the same feeling, I didn't know what to expect the first couple times. I think it's just part of transitioning from juniors to pros. You know you're going to have to stay on the court for longer.

I remember at the beginning when I was playing these matches, I had a tough time pacing myself. I was trying to save energy, then I was finding myself behind trying to catch up.

Yeah, it's not really something you can train for. Again, in practice, it's always different. I think it's just experience. You have to go through it. You have to play these matches. Like today, Jo has so much experience playing these matches, I don't have that much, that could have been the difference. He picked up his game when he needed to.

Q. In tennis these things tend to happen unfortunately. Are you one of those guys that actually is able to brush it off, then get on with it? Is it going to bother you for a few days?
DENIS SHAPOVALOV: I mean, as much as the loss hurts, you know, I don't find it as a loss. I find it as an opportunity to learn. Yeah, I mean, I'm turning it into a positive. Hopefully next time I'm in this situation, I play things a little bit differently.

But I'm the type of guy when things don't go my way, instead of sulking or getting mad, down on myself, I go back on the court and try to work twice as hard so next time when I'm in that position I can hit some good serves, you know, just close the match out.

Q. Offbeat question. How often do you wear your hat forwards and not backwards?
DENIS SHAPOVALOV: Normally I wear it backwards just to get the hair out of my way. When the sun is in my eyes, like today, it was really brutal in the second and third, I'm forced to wear it forwards, yeah.

Q. It's all about the hair?
DENIS SHAPOVALOV: Yeah. I mean, normally I wear it backwards for the hair. I feel like with the bandana, my hair flies out and gets in my face. The hat has been working for me. Unfortunately they're a little big on me (laughter).

Q. Doesn't happen to everybody.
DENIS SHAPOVALOV: I was trying to ask Roger, what hair gel is he using, keeps his hair perfectly in place every time.

Q. Any part of your game you would have liked to have a little bit better today or maybe let you down a little bit?
DENIS SHAPOVALOV: Yeah, I thought I could have returned better. There was a couple games where I was getting a lot of looks on the second serve and just shanking a couple, not doing enough with the ball. With the second shot, he was stepping up.

That's definitely one area I still want to improve a lot. I think it's gotten unbelievably better, but there's always room to grow.

The other part I would say is my volleys. I think I'm volleying a lot better. Still sometimes I'm not setting on my feet, I'm going for too much. I think it's just going to the net more, having these chances to play more volleys.

Q. There's a lot of talk about shortening the matches. What do you think about the best-of-five in slams, in Davis Cup?
DENIS SHAPOVALOV: For me, I'm too young to really make a decision on this. I've only played two main draws of a slam. I've only won five sets twice.

For me, it seems all right. I'm 18. I'm able to play these matches full on for five sets. I don't know how the older guys take it. I think it's part of tradition. I think that's why the sport is unique. You can play for so long. Yeah, I'm all for keeping it.

Q. You're one of the youngest guys on tour, but matching it with the best guys in the world. How close do you feel personally to the top 10 and top 15 guys?
DENIS SHAPOVALOV: Obviously there's always the top guys, Roger, Rafa, Novak. These guys are just another level, I feel, than everyone else. Then after that I feel like, you know, the sport is so close, you can compete with anyone.

I still feel I need to improve so much to get to their level, to compete with them day in and day out. Yeah, I mean, I definitely feel like if I'm playing at the top of my game, I'm able to stay with these guys.

Doesn't mean I'm able to slack off. I still have to go back and work hard so that hopefully one day myself, I can be in the top 10.

Q. After your good run in New York, you said your goal was to put tennis racquets not hockey sticks into the hands of young North Americans.
DENIS SHAPOVALOV: I wouldn't phrase it that way, not hockey sticks. I'm a huge fan of hockey. I love it. It would be nice to see a couple kids, you know, a few more, hundreds, picking up a tennis racquet as well, playing at clubs, just developing the sport in the country more. I feel like it's all hockey mentality, hockey, hockey, hockey.

Yeah, the last couple years we've proved that tennis players can come out of there, it's doable. Yeah, I definitely think hopefully in the future we can see a lot more kids and athletes coming out of Canada playing tennis.

Q. Do you think Federer would have been a pretty good hockey player if he focused on it?
DENIS SHAPOVALOV: I think Federer would have been unreal at any sport he chose.

Q. Any idea what the plans are the next few weeks before Davis Cup?
DENIS SHAPOVALOV: Not sure. I might go to Toronto to visit my parents and my dogs. But I'm not sure yet. I might stop by there, go to Montreal a couple days, train before Davis Cup on clay, head over to Croatia.

Q. How do you feel about playing on the clay?
DENIS SHAPOVALOV: Fun. No, I mean, it's going to be interesting. I don't think I've ever played, like, a tournament or matches on indoor clay. It's going to be different. I think if we play well, we can take it, definitely. We definitely have the team. Hopefully Felix will be healthy enough for the tie. Yeah, I don't see why we can't win it.

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