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July 2, 2021

Denis Shapovalov

Wimbledon, London, UK

Press Conference


6-4, 6-2, 6-2

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Is that your best performance ever at Wimbledon? Maybe just tell us about the atmosphere you played on. Just the experience playing a match like that.

DENIS SHAPOVALOV: Yeah, for sure it's, I think it's probably one of my best performances even outside of Wimbledon. I think I definitely played really flawless today and just super solid.

It was an incredible experience. You know, like I said on the court, it was a dream of mine to, you know, to grow up one day and play on the Centre Court at Wimbledon. You know, I have seen so many legends play there, and it's always just been a huge goal of mine.

So to go out there today and to play a guy like Andy, who is also just such a legend, and to beat him today, you know, with the tennis I was playing, it was incredible for me.

Q. It seemed like your confidence kind of grew as the match went on. I just wonder, I guess, how that happened? How did you shut out the crowd? Clearly it was pretty one-sided there. It didn't seem to bother you, and if anything, you seemed to get better as the game went on.

DENIS SHAPOVALOV: Yeah, I mean, I expected the crowd to be for Andy. Obviously it's completely normal.

For me, I tried to just focus on myself and play my game. You know, every point, I was just trying to compete the best I can, and I really felt like I was in every single point today.

So I'm, you know, really, really happy with myself on that. You know, it's definitely, you know, one of my better matches in that case. I feel like I didn't give away almost anything. I really was making him earn a lot and really dictating when I had chances. I think it was just really, really flawless for me today.

Q. You just referred to Andy as a legend and you had some really kind words towards him on your post-match chat on the court. What's it like when you go up against one of those legends of the game for the first time? You've done it against the other guys like Roger and Rafa of course. This was your first one against Andy. Who were some of the players when you were a kid you watched at Wimbledon that you really enjoyed and were inspired by watching?

DENIS SHAPOVALOV: I mean, I think at the beginning it was kind of like a factor to play one of these top four guys. But as I have played these guys so many times now, that to me dealing with it the same way as any other match and I'm not focused on that it's Andy out there or any of the other top four guys. I'm just focusing on myself, like I said.

And for sure I think Roger obviously, you know, a lot of his matches I watched. The first one that comes to mind is probably him against Roddick in the finals and his historic finals over here.

Of course Andy, when he won the pros, I had won the juniors, so I really looked up to him and remember seeing him play against Milos that year. I was always just a huge fan of his game. Like I said, actually watching his second-round match, as a fan of the game, it was really awesome to just see him playing and moving the way he is and some of the passing shots, you know, he hit. Even the way he won the match, it was so vintage Andy. It was really cool to see as a tennis fan.

Of course for me it was just exciting to go out today and play. You know, obviously like I said, it was a dream come true for me. So I was just a kid out there and just enjoying the moment.

Q. How good does it feel to be playing the type of grass court tennis that I think you always knew and we always knew you were capable of? What do you think you need to do to keep it going in the round of 16 against Roberto Bautista Agut?

DENIS SHAPOVALOV: Yeah, I'm definitely, definitely super pleased with the grass court season. Obviously we had made the call to skip French Open so that my shoulder can feel good for the grass and, you know, so that it can completely heal and I can have a better chance to play well with the grass. I think it was obviously the right call. Super happy with that.

And of course I feel like throughout the years my game has improved on grass courts. It's just been a matter of time. So I'm happy that I've been able to stay patient. I still think there is so much room for me to grow on this surface and to get better. So there is definitely things I want to keep working on throughout the years, you know, so that one day I could be a really, really tough opponent on this surface.

Against Roberto, you know, it's another tough match. We have never played against each other. He's a really tough opponent. He doesn't give much to the other guy. It's definitely a match I'm going to have to earn. For sure, it's going to be a long battle.

Q. Enjoyed your comments about the fan club in Southeast London, the school. Can you tell us a little bit more about this? It's a lovely video. Was it Adam Kohlbeck (phonetic) your friend?

DENIS SHAPOVALOV: Adam, yeah. Yeah, yeah, Adam, he's just a friend that I've known for a while now. Actually, I remember a funny story. When I was barely I think in Junior Wimbledon, we were sitting at a restaurant and he was going to the waiters, Hey, you're going to want this guy's autograph. He's in the main draw at Wimbledon. I'm like sitting there so embarrassed. Like, Come on, man. I'm barely in the juniors draw.

And then surely, you know, years later, it's just cool to see him in the stands and I'm playing on Centre Court. The video he made with the school, it was really, really cool. He told me that they put it together really quickly, but it actually seemed like they rehearsed there for a while. It was really, really touching.

I think that's what it's about. Just inspiring the next generation and seeing these kids, you know, becoming fans and learning to love a sport, you know, because they follow someone or they know someone, you know, through someone and doing things like this.

It just is what makes sport so great, and it's truly inspiring to be, you know, to be the image for these kids.

Q. He was there watching you, was he?

DENIS SHAPOVALOV: He was. Yeah, yeah, he was there in the stands. Actually, early in the match I made a comment to him about he's got this lucky blue jacket and he wore it today, so I just thought I joked around with him. Actually he couldn't hear me, the crowd was too loud (smiling).

Q. I have been asking this to some players about abuse on social media towards players. Last week almost at the same time you did, Cristian Garin withdrew from the Olympics. He has been receiving tons of abuse, even though he's in the second week at Wimbledon as you do. I don't know if whether in Canada they are so passionate about this and you have been receiving this kind of abuse? What's your opinion on that, and what's the advice that you can give to other players to stand towards abuse?

DENIS SHAPOVALOV: Yeah, it's difficult, for sure. You know, I'm not going to specify, I don't think they're Canadians, I think it's just people in general, and gamblers, you know, the majority of them, for sure. I mean, I think every player gets hate messages. It does suck, and I think it's completely horrible.

To me, I try to shut down my media at all during the tournaments. You know, I'll post stuff, but then I'm not on it at all, so I'm not seeing these things.

To every player, it's their own, but for sure it's tough. It definitely shouldn't happen. You know, we're playing the sport because we love to play. We're not playing it so that we can, you know, get hated on. It's super, super difficult, for sure, but like I said, every player needs to manage it the way they can.

For me, I try not to look at my media at all during tournaments.

Q. I spoke with Felix yesterday and asked him if he wouldn't mind giving a little preview of your match today against Andy. He had some pretty positive comments to share in terms of how optimistic he was of you coming through. What can you say about the tough match that he's going to face tomorrow against Nick Kyrgios and the level of excitement that that brings with it?

DENIS SHAPOVALOV: Yeah, I think it's definitely, definitely a match I'm going to be watching. I think it's super fun. Obviously Nick is a really tough opponent, but, you know, Felix has definitely improved his game quite a lot and he's at a really good level right now.

So I'm very confident that he can and probably will pull through. Obviously with Nick, he's such a talent. It's always tough to say, you know, but I think it does benefit Felix a little bit that it's the third round, so, you know, physically I think Nick could be a little bit tired.

Obviously, you know, you can't know for sure, but I think it's going to be a super exciting and talented match, so to say. I think both these guys are just incredible athletes, so it's going to be fun to watch.

Q. Back to your Centre Court experience. You talked about how it was just like a dream out there. Was there anything unique or anything surprising about the experience at all? Can you talk about that a little bit?

DENIS SHAPOVALOV: I think just the court in general, just the history of this club and the court itself and just the whole thing. You know, growing up, Wimbledon is the tournament that you hear about constantly and the tournament that you always want to compete in one day and be on that Centre Court.

For me, it was the most special one. Growing up a Roger fan, too, he's won it so many times here, and to be on the court he's had so much history on, it was really special.

That was pretty much it. You know, obviously the fans were electric. It was so much fun to be out there. Obviously they were cheering for Andy, but, I mean, it was really, really cool. I mean, they were obviously very respectful, and I thought it was a lot of fun to just be out there.

Like I said, I was just like a kid out there. It was just like my dream always to be on that court. Every point I was just having my moment, having my dream, and I just wanted it to last as long as possible. It was just so much fun.

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