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May 10, 2018

Denis Shapovalov

Madrid, Spain


6-4, 6-4

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Milos was full of praise for you. He said you have the game, you played amazing. He was surprised at how consistent you already are on this surface. Was it your most perfect day on clay?
DENIS SHAPOVALOV: Definitely one of my best days on clay. To be on the court against such a legend for me, and for my country, it was an honor. Yeah, it was fun. There was no pressure on me. Obviously a lot more on him playing a young guy coming up. But, I mean, I just enjoyed myself.

What he does for our country, for tennis, for these past couple years, it's incredible. Like I said, to be on the court against him, it was great.

To beat him, it was a huge confidence booster for me. The match felt like everything kind of went great, went my way. I was guessing a lot the right way on the serves. When I got my racquet on them, usually they're falling in.

There's nothing to criticize about my performance today.

Q. Milos was also saying you shouldn't underestimate yourself on this surface. He feels you being a lefty can actually be a big advantage. He pointed out the best players on clay in history have been left-handed. Are you sensing you get an advantage more so on clay?
DENIS SHAPOVALOV: Definitely. I think on every surface, I feel like this sport, being a lefty, it's a huge advantage. I definitely knew growing up that being a lefty on clay is very impactful. Obviously I grew up watching Rafa. He was dominating back then. Still is dominating.

It was more of just like finding my footing on the clay, how to match my game style with the surface, with the slow bounces, the longer rallies. It was kind of finding the balance between staying in the points, rallying more, and being aggressive, coming to the net. I feel like I found that range.

Yeah, I've been playing extremely well on this surface this past week. Hopefully I can keep going this week, for the next couple weeks. I feel like I found my footing, I found my range.

Q. It always feels good to win a match. How much better does it feel to win against someone you idolize?

Q. Yes.
DENIS SHAPOVALOV: Like I said, I mean, he's such a legend in our country. I mean, he's been dominating the sport in our country and in the world. I've always looked up to him. To beat a guy like that, like I said, it's a huge confidence booster for me. Hopefully I can take that going forward.

I have another tough match against Kyle tomorrow. We're 2-All. At the start of the year he beat me in a really close match. It was unbelievable tennis. It was the first match for both of us. The performance was really, really good from the both of us.

I'm definitely expecting a tough match tomorrow. It's going to be good tennis. We're both playing extremely well. So, yeah, it's going to be fun.

Q. Obviously you and Kyle are both young guys coming up. He's taken the mantle of the British No. 1. You've beaten Milos. How important do you think it is for the NextGen players to be facing off at this kind of level now?
DENIS SHAPOVALOV: Yeah, I think the NextGen guys are really advancing this year. I feel like it's going to continue this way for the next couple years. There's going to be a lot of changes in the rankings, a lot of upsets, new champions coming up.

We have a really talented group, a lot of young, hard-working guys that are actually really nice guys, too, which is always a bonus. Yeah, it's a really strong group coming up. It's unbelievable to see all these young guys doing well in these tournaments.

To be honest, it motivates me as well. Look, Stefanos, he's been playing exceptional for the past couple weeks. That's motivated me to get back on the court, train extremely hard. This week I've managed to kind of do well, as well. I'm sure the rest of the guys are looking, as well, looking to work hard. It's just great to see.

Q. At the start of the tournament you said this year was all about getting the clay under your feet, learning to grind through matches, not so much about the results. Has your perspective changed at all here? Do you think you can go further at the French, for example?
DENIS SHAPOVALOV: No, I don't think my expectations changed on the clay. Obviously I think this is just an extreme bonus for me to be in the quarters of a Masters, especially on this surface. I never expected to get this far.

But, yeah, I think still I'm learning on this surface. I'm learning every day. Regardless of how I do this week, I'm going to keep grinding, keep working away. Just hopefully a couple years down the road I can be a contender for the title at the French. For now, no, there's no pressure on me. There's no expectations of myself.

Q. Expectation from others regarding yourself are rising. How do you deal with that? Do you listen, block it out?
DENIS SHAPOVALOV: No, I mean, for me obviously I love my fans, my supporters. I feel like when they're around, when they're supporting me, that's when I play my best.

To be honest, the only voices for me that matter are my team, my family, the close ones around me. That's all I care about. Everything else I just kind of zone out.

I know within myself what I'm capable of. I know my boundaries, my limits. I feel like I've pushed past my boundaries this week. Hopefully I can continue to do so.

But, yeah, if next week doesn't go my way, if tomorrow's match doesn't go my way, I'm not going to get down on myself. I'll just keep working hard, hopefully maintain my level.

I feel like I'm playing really well right now. Hopefully I can maintain this throughout the French and the grass court season.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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