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May 11, 2018

Denis Shapovalov

Madrid, Spain


7-5, 6-7, 6-4

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. How different does it feel making the semifinals of this tournament compared to when you made your first Masters semi?
DENIS SHAPOVALOV: Feels amazing still. Obviously the first time is the first. To be honest, I'm happy again to be in the semifinals. I never knew when my next time being in a semis would be. I'm more than thrilled to be there. Hopefully I can go even further.

But it's been an unbelievable week for me, especially on this surface. So it's just a massive confidence booster. Yeah, hopefully I can take it forward.

Q. You played here the Davis Cup juniors. Do you think that experience helped?
DENIS SHAPOVALOV: Of course. I mean, I think it's a huge part of it. I had unbelievable memories here, winning the first junior Davis Cup for the country. So I was really excited to be back here as a pro player. As the clay season was starting, this was the tournament I really wanted to be back at.

I think it's a bit of everything. It's a bit of the altitude, the fast courts, and definitely this experience when I played juniors. I didn't lose one match in the whole event. Definitely unbelievable feelings being back here.

Yeah, I'm playing some great tennis.

Q. How did you manage your emotions or frustration after the second set? You had match point, you were close. You switched off to the third set quickly, which is not easy to do.
DENIS SHAPOVALOV: Yeah, it wasn't easy. I took a bit of a break, went to the washroom, cooled down a bit. It was kind of similar to what happened in Brisbane this year against Kyle. I won the first. We had a really close tiebreak in the second. I missed a pretty easy overhead and he took the set. I got broken in the first game of the third set, and he held.

I tried to learn from that. I think I did that really well today. As soon as the second set was done, I just told myself that it's in the past, let's just focus on the third, let's focus on every point this set.

Yeah, I'm really proud of myself, the way I handled myself mentally.

Q. We have to talk about the incident that happened unfortunately, the serve. Kyle wasn't prepared to give that point away. Talk about what happened there.
DENIS SHAPOVALOV: Definitely. I mean, as I was tossing the ball, a lady yelled out. I can't remember what she yelled out exactly.

Q. Your name.

Then I served. I'm not sure if Kyle was intending to play it or not. It was too fast. But obviously I felt really bad. I felt awful about it. But I wasn't really sure what to do in the situation.

At the end of the day I think it's the ref's call. The ref has to make that decision. That's why he's there, why he's on the court. It's not up to me. It's not up to Kyle. That's why we have refs in the first place.

It's tough to put the blame on me to replay that at such a big point in the match. As I'm tossing the ball, maybe if the ref yells out, Stop, or if I stopped, something could have been done. But nobody yelled out anything, so I proceeded to serve.

Yeah, I don't know, it's a really tough situation. Like I said, I felt really bad. But at the end it's not my call, it's up to the ref.

Q. You have already played five times. How do you view that budding rivalry? What makes it so close?
DENIS SHAPOVALOV: It's interesting. I feel like we have a really, really similar game style. We both go big on the serves, we both love to dictate with the forehands. It's tricky to play Kyle. When he's on, I'm not seeing the ball at all. He's slapping winners left and right. It's tough to play a player like this.

In my opinion, he's so talented, he's going to go so far in this sport. Yeah, he's done a great job this year. I'm sure he's going to keep improving, keep getting better.

Yeah, I feel like every time we play, we have a thriller match. It's fun to be on the court with him. To be honest, we have some incredible matches. It's always a pleasure to play him.

Q. The mindset was to play freely, nothing to lose. It's clear everything is a bonus for you. You're two matches away from the title. How do you balance natural ambition and the fact you need to stay in this mindset?
DENIS SHAPOVALOV: I'm not sure. I mean, I'm not thinking of the title at all. I always take it one match at a time. Like I said, everything thus far that I've done, it's all bonus. Every match I'm playing, just freely, just swinging away. Yeah, I've been winning.

It's going to be another tough match tomorrow. I think I can win it if I play really well. Either way, either if it's John or Alex, it's an extremely tough match. They both have a lot of confidence coming in. They've been playing some of the best tennis of their lives. It's not going to be easy.

Q. Has this week forced you to adjust your expectations of yourself on this surface?
DENIS SHAPOVALOV: Of course. I mean, I think more than it's not really expectations of myself, but just confidence within myself, that I can compete on this surface, that I can play on it. Yeah, I can actually win matches on it. I mean, last year I didn't win one single match on clay. So going in this year, didn't have any expectations or confidence at all.

After a week like this, it definitely shows myself that I'm capable, more than capable, to play against these guys and win matches on this surface.

Q. Before you stepped onto the court with Kyle, Nadal lost. There was such a buzz around the stadium. What were your thoughts?
DENIS SHAPOVALOV: It's pretty crazy. They're obviously No. 1 and No. 2 players on clay. Whenever they play against each other, it's always a thriller match. It's always going to be incredible tennis.

Yeah, I'm happy for Dominic. He's a really nice guy. Obviously it sucks that -- it's always a pity when Rafa loses, especially at home. Maybe not for some, but...

I mean, it is what it is. It's a sport. You can't win every week, otherwise, I mean, it would be too easy. I'm happy for Dominic. It's a big win for him. Yeah, hopefully he can go further and can take this win and use it to his advantage.

Q. You will make your top 30 debut on Monday. Do you have any kind of ranking goals for the next couple of months or the year?
DENIS SHAPOVALOV: No, no. No specific ranking goals. To me, the most important thing is still just to keep improving, keep getting better. At the end of the day I'm still 19 years old. I'm still playing up every match that I play almost. I still have a lot to learn against these guys. They have so much more experience. They're still, I feel like, better than me on most days.

Yeah, like I said, I just have to keep hitting the court, keep improving my game, so hopefully in a couple years from now we can talk about top 20, top 10, stuff like that.

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