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August 7, 2018

Denis Shapovalov

Toronto, Ontario, Canada


6-1, 6-4

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. How were the nerves walking out there tonight and then how important was it for you to get a quick start? It seemed like especially I think second service game you were down 15-40 and you were able to find your way back in and settle in, I guess.
DENIS SHAPOVALOV: Yeah, like I said before, whenever -- for some reason, whenever I'm at home, I just seem to loosen up with the crowd. And I just enjoyed myself out there today. It was really fun to be on that center court with so many people watching.

So, yeah, from the bat, I was really solid, got an early break. And, yeah, you know, just kept my ground, held that service game and just rolled with it after that and just, yeah, stayed with the momentum.

It was one of those matches where everything was kind of feeling good for me. So it's a really good feeling and hopefully it continues.

Q. You mentioned out there that you also were able to watch Felix before your match. What did you think of his match and does it feel extra special knowing that both of you advance to the second round?
DENIS SHAPOVALOV: Definitely. I was cheering him on in the locker room and then in the player restaurant.

So, yeah, it's a huge moment for his career. It's a great introduction to the ATP World Tour right before his 18th birthday. So I'm very happy for him, really proud of him.

And, you know, in a way, he kind of pumped me up with his win. I was like, okay, let's make it back to back and have two young Canadians advance to the second round.

So, yeah, I'm just really happy. It's a really good day for Canadian tennis.

Q. I think a year ago in Montreal you were staying in Felix's basement. Are you putting him up this year and are you giving him slightly better lodging?
DENIS SHAPOVALOV: No. I mean, I definitely offered for him to stay with me at my parents' house, but, yeah, it's just a pretty far ride. It's about 25, 30 minutes to get down here.

So I told him, Look, of course you know you're welcome to stay, but maybe it makes more sense to stay at a hotel nearby. And that's exactly what he did.

But, yeah, I mean, he's always open to come over for lunch or anything. We grabbed dinner the other night. So I'm trying to return the favor, let's put it that way.

Q. There was a couple of games there where you were facing a couple of break points and you were able to get some big first serves in some timely moments. How do you find that rhythm back on your serve in such a tight moment of the game?
DENIS SHAPOVALOV: Yeah, I was serving really well today. I've been working a lot with my mom on my serve, so today it shows huge improvement on it.

And like I said, I was kind of feeling confident with everything, so maybe that's one reason I was pretty loose on the serve. Especially in the big moments, I was able to really serve well. So I'm really happy with that.

And it's not always going to be like that, obviously. But, you know, when the days are like this, it's a huge confidence booster for me.

Q. What makes your mom a good coach?
DENIS SHAPOVALOV: Her cooking and...(smiling) No. I mean, first of all, she does a really good job of being my mom off court and giving me my space and, you know, loving me. While on the court she's tough and she keeps me disciplined and she's my coach. She's not my mom on court.

And I feel like we've really found that balance together, and it's been really good the past couple of weeks. I feel like I've improved a lot. She's really been working my game.

And honestly, first of all, she's got a great eye for the game, but she knows my game better than anybody, better than even I do. So that's what I feel like makes her such a great coach and makes her work well with me. It's because she knows my game inside out and she knows how to make me, you know, get back to feeling good and how to improve my strokes.

Q. What advice are you going to give to Felix about Medvedev? He said he talked to you.
DENIS SHAPOVALOV: Honestly, just play his game. He's been playing unbelievable, especially today against Lucas. The guy couldn't do much. It's tough to do much when Felix is nailing balls left and right for anybody.

So to be honest, for him it's just to play his game. And, obviously, there's a couple other pointers that I could give him, but honestly it's not that important. If Felix is playing his game, I think he's going to come out with the win.

Q. Fognini for you?
DENIS SHAPOVALOV: Fognini for me. Obviously, he's been playing unbelievable tennis and the past couple weeks shown that he's a good hard court player as well. So it's going to be a tough match for me.

It kind of goes the same for me. I feel like if I play my game and I'm playing good, I'll be able to put up a fight and maybe even potentially win the match.

But it's definitely a challenge going into it, but I feel fairly confident with the way I played today and the way I've been training and playing the whole week.

Q. This tournament has been different for you coming in. This is the first time you have points to defend and your face is on all the posters and your name is everywhere. Has it affected your approach to the tournament?
DENIS SHAPOVALOV: No. Like I mentioned before, Rogers Cup, for me, it's not another week on the tour. It's a bonus week. I get to play at home. It's an honor for me to go out there in front of all my fans and just put on a show.

So I'm really not thinking about the points. I'm only 19 years old. Even if I don't defend it, I'll have so many chances in the next couple years to make semis, or whatever, again. So I'm really not thinking about that.

I'm just going out there like tonight and just enjoying myself. And I can honestly lose any round. Everyone is good. Anyone could beat me on a given day but the same goes vice versa. I feel like I can beat anyone out there. So hopefully I can play some good tennis.

And like I said, I'm going to try to put on a show and fight for every point and see how far I can take it.

Q. Could you talk specifically about the way you think your game has improved since 2017 in Montreal?
DENIS SHAPOVALOV: Yeah, I mean, first of all, I've just improved as an athlete physically. I've gotten way stronger than last year.

And the second thing would be mentally. I've grown as a person, as an athlete. I've become way more professional. I feel like last year when I was coming out to these matches I had to close my eyes and try to hit the lines to win the matches; whereas now I feel like I'm able to compete with any of the players on any day. You know, my game is just there, you know, game-wise and, yeah, physically.

And obviously the last thing is, yeah, on the court I've improved a lot and I'm moving a lot faster. My returns have improved. I'm still staying aggressive but a little bit more disciplined.

So it's been a countless amount of things that have improved, but at the same time I feel like there's still a lot of room for me to grow and improve as a player and as an athlete.

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