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January 15, 2019

Denis Shapovalov

Melbourne, Victoria, Australia


6-2, 6-3, 7-6

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Is that the way you play Grand Slam tournament tennis?
DENIS SHAPOVALOV: Yeah, it's definitely a very good match for me. Came out pretty much on fire, you know, really clean match. Obviously got broken at the end serving for it, but that's tennis, you know. He stepped up his game towards the end. He had nothing to lose there, made some really good returns, some good points. I just stayed with it. I knew that I was playing really good tennis, serving really well.

I just tried to stay calm, came out really firing in the tiebreaker. It was almost a perfect match for me.

Q. You have a guy in the next round who only won because of his opponent retiring. Do you think that makes him a little bit more dangerous in the sense that he was down, maybe he feels he has a free hit now?
DENIS SHAPOVALOV: Yeah, for sure. I mean, I'm sure he's not going to really think about that too much. He's obviously happy to be in the second round. He's definitely a tough player. He's put up a lot of fights against a lot of good players. I remember him playing Rafa I think in New York couple years ago. He was up a set and a break.

He's definitely dangerous. He's going to bring the match to me on Thursday, right? We play Thursday, yeah. Yeah, it's definitely going to be another good match for me.

But I think if I play like today, I'll definitely have a chance to be dictating, to kind of lead the game. So I'm really happy with where I am right now. Just going to try to take it to Taro.

Q. I noticed you deleted Twitter. I was interested why you made that move.
DENIS SHAPOVALOV: I honestly didn't. I'm just having some issues getting it back up running. There's some issues with my birth date and stuff. I'm actually just trying to figure that out right now. They don't want to let me back in. Please, Twitter, let me back in (laughter).

But, yeah, honestly, it's kind of worked for the better. I feel I'm just a little bit less on my social media now with my Twitter gone. But, yeah, I definitely would love to have that back. If you're watching, please (smiling).

They didn't believe I'm my age or something like this. I had to, like, write a letter verifying my age, something like this. Yeah, it's just been a little bit of a struggle. But hopefully they'll let me back on soon. We'll see.

Q. They thought you were younger?
DENIS SHAPOVALOV: No. So basically I was verifying my age. They said apparently when I created my account, I was too young or something like this, so I need a verification with the parent. Something crazy like this.

Yeah, just honestly I'm confused as much as you guys are on what's going on. They just kind of kicked me out, said, yeah, I need to send a letter or something. I'm trying to fix that.

Q. Can you talk about the work that you did during the winter from a physical point of view, especially about your change to shorter hair?
DENIS SHAPOVALOV: Yeah, honestly the shorter hair was just kind of a change I wanted to do. Nothing crazy. I've been with long hair for several years now. I just wanted to change. I wanted to see how everyone would react, too. It's kind of funny to see how the fans, they always get so involved, I got so many messages. It was like 50/50. Some were like, Oh, my God, you look so great with short hair. The other half are like, No, why did you cut your hair? It's a good laugh.

Honestly, just a change I wanted to make. I'm sure at some point I'm going to go back to long hair or I'm going to go a little shorter. I just like to play around with it, change it up from time to time. Otherwise it's too boring, you know. It's too repetitive.

Yeah, I changed that. Off-season was great honestly. I'm working with Rob Steckley now, a new coach. I feel like we put in a lot of good work, a lot of things I really wanted to attack in the off-season. We really worked on those things. Obviously didn't come out in Auckland. Actually it kind of did. I felt like I was doing certain things that we worked on really well. I just wasn't able to execute. I had a lot of chances. I just wasn't able to kind of get over that finish line.

I felt like I had the match. So it was actually kind of a positive match for me. I played Jack Sock in Kooyong, which was really good to get another match under my belt, still work on those kind of couple things. Here, I feel like I really was able to emphasize those things. Just came out super sharp today.

Q. What does it feel like when you're playing that much better than you were against Sousa? How does it feel in terms of confidence?
DENIS SHAPOVALOV: I still felt against Sousa I was playing some good points and some good tennis. I just wasn't able to maintain it 100%. He played a really good match at the same time. You know, he felt when I was a little bit rattled or wasn't at my best, he made sure to play his top tennis when he could, you know?

That's why I felt like, like I said, I was really doing the things well in Auckland, but I just wasn't able to make that forehand to get the break, or play a good point when I needed it.

Whereas today, I was a little bit more calm. Honestly, I was just in the zone really. I didn't care, win or lose. I was just going out there battling against Andujar. Everything kind of came together for me. Those forehands that didn't go in in Auckland, they were going in today.

Q. I don't know if you've been following it at all this week, some of the older guys on the tour have been talking about the players council, Chris Kermode. As a young guy, are you interested in any of that? Do you have any kind of opinions on Chris Kermode? How does the players council work for you?
DENIS SHAPOVALOV: Honestly, that's kind of a tough question. I think they're definitely trying to do a lot to help us. I think the players council is very good right now. We have Novak, Kevin Anderson, who are super great guys. They're really looking for the benefit for us.

I also think that the ATP right now is doing a pretty good job. I mean, we got the ATP coming up, ATP Cup coming up next year, which is going to be a lot of money. It's going to be kind of a different kind of tennis game. You're playing for your country with a couple teammates. It's going to be a different format.

They're including more events, new events like this, which is going to help players in the sense we're going to get more matches in before the Australian Open. At the same time it's going to include a lot of money and a lot of top players playing.

I think the ATP right now is doing a good job. But at the same time, you know, I'm too young of a player and of a person to step in and be like, Hey, I want things done this way. I haven't achieved nearly enough to go into these rooms and be like, Listen, guys, actually I would prefer it this way.

So I do have my opinions, the way I would like things run. Honestly, it's way too early in my career. Hopefully one day I'll be able to be a player that has a voice and is able to help all players, all ATP guys. But I just don't feel right now I'm at the stage of my career to do so.

Q. Do you get to speak to your player representatives? The older guys maybe didn't come up in a generation of social media. There's a change there where there's new pressures on younger voices. Do they ever seek you out on that sort of thing?
DENIS SHAPOVALOV: I think what they do well is they're always constantly talking to us, especially guys like Robin Haase. He's always been coming up and asking me questions. Vasek is the same. Always asking players what they think of this, what they think of that. I do feel very included in it.

I'd mention at the same time, I'm not going to go to them and mention, Hey, we need to do this, I don't like this. At the end of the day I'm 19 years old. There's a lot of players that have been around way longer than me. They just have more experience in this. They know what's actually better for the tour. They're just wiser than me, you know?

But in terms of social media, honestly I think the ATP is doing a great job right now. They're really pushing the young guys like me, Tsitsipas, De Minaur. I think that's what should be done. The greats are only going to be around for so many more years.

Obviously they're still dominating. At a certain point, they're going to eventually retire. It's about who are the next stars, who are the next players coming up.

I think we have such a wide variety of players. We got in terms of Kokkinakis, Tsitsipas, Frances, so many countries, so many players. There's so much talent. So I think the ATP is actually doing a very good job right now just promoting the younger guys, having them to do these media things, stuff like that.

I think honestly it's really on the right track.

Q. Roger mentioned last night that he had a practice with you and he's impressed with your game.
DENIS SHAPOVALOV: He destroyed me.

Q. How did it come about?
DENIS SHAPOVALOV: It was fun. Honestly, every time I'm hitting with Roger, I was like in shock still. Every time I'm talking to him, I've spent so many times chatting, he always stops and talks to me. He's honestly my hero. Every time I see him, I'm still shocked, couldn't believe it.

I was practicing with him. It was honestly kind of a proud moment for me. I was like, Wow, my level is there to hit with a guy like Roger Federer and practice with him, you know?

So honestly, it was really inspiring for me to be on the court with him. Obviously he's such a super cool guy. He's so loose and chitchatting, having a normal practice. For me, I was like, Oh, my God, oh, my God, I got to hit these shots, have a good practice for Roger.

Yeah, honestly it was great. It's pretty crazy to see, what is he now, 37, 38 years old? He's honestly still so fast. Obviously he's got the best timing. It's unreal what he can do with the ball. But I never realized how quick he was until we actually practiced a couple days ago. We were playing points. I felt like certain shots I should have had a winner on it. He's just right there flicking another backhand at me. I felt like he's constantly at the ball.

I think it's crazy to see how in shape he is, how good he is at his age. It's honestly something nobody can imagine to do. I can't imagine myself playing tennis at 37, you know? It's shocking. But it's so great to see. Honestly, he's such a great ambassador for the sport. I don't think there's anybody better than him.

The way he carries himself, the way he carries himself with other people, it's not a show. From the day I came to the scene, he's always made time to talk to me, see how I'm doing, just out of niceness, it's just the way he is.

Q. Was that on Rod Laver Arena?
DENIS SHAPOVALOV: It was on Rod Laver.

Q. Do you remember what day it was? Sunday?
DENIS SHAPOVALOV: No. It was earlier. I think it was, like, last Thursday or Friday maybe. I think something like that. I can't remember.

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