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July 1, 2021

Denis Shapovalov

Wimbledon, London, UK

Press Conference

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Obviously this is going to be a huge event tomorrow. Tell us a bit about your thinking heading into this and what it's going to be like, clear what the crowd is going to be doing.

DENIS SHAPOVALOV: Yeah, definitely I think it's a great moment for me. You know, obviously it's going to be my first time on Centre Court at Wimbledon, so it's definitely super exciting for, you know, for me and my team and my career. Definitely a match I grew up wanting to play against Andy in the spotlight like this. So it's definitely a match I'm looking forward to.

It's going to be a lot of fun out there.

Q. Can you remember what you would have been doing when Andy first won Wimbledon in '13, if you watched that, or '16, either of those big wins?

DENIS SHAPOVALOV: Yeah, I remember his win in '16 for sure. Obviously I was there in the juniors, and he played Milos in the final. Of course I remember that one. I do recall '13 sort of, but not as vividly.

But for sure it's, you know, it's going to be super tricky match, I think. You know, obviously he's moving really well out there, and he seems to be back in some really, really good shape. Obviously with the experience he has and love he has for these courts, you know, it's not going to be an easy match, for sure. Definitely a difficult one, but super, super fun event that's ahead of me.

Q. How much have you seen of Andy's matches this week? What do you feel about going out in an atmosphere like that? Obviously not many of the crowd I guess are going to be going behind you.

DENIS SHAPOVALOV: No, you know, it's normal. He's playing at home, and two-time champion here. So for sure it's expected.

I've watched a little bit, definitely watched his match yesterday. And honestly just as a tennis fan, it was fun to watch. A fan of Andy's, you know, to see him back and moving so well, especially those last two sets, how he turned it around. It felt like he was the player that he was, you know, couple years back. It was really exciting to see.

For sure it's a difficult one. Like I said, you know, obviously he's got all that experience and he seems to be in really good shape. It's definitely an exciting match. It's going to be an exciting moment.

Q. You mentioned you have watched Andy a lot growing up, a little bit this week. What would you say the things with your kind of professional eye, you see the top level of the game sharper than we do, what would you say are the things making the difference between him when he was World No. 1 and what isn't working quite as well as it has in the past?

DENIS SHAPOVALOV: Well, obviously, I mean, he hasn't played, right? He's been hurt for a lot. So he hasn't been able to play most weeks or if he has played, you know, he's been able to play a good match or two, but it's been the recovery, which has been difficult.

But honestly, watching the last couple of sets yesterday, it looked like the old Andy out there. You know, it looked, as a tennis fan, it looked really fun and exciting to watch. It brought a lot of memories back to me, you know, when he was dominant and playing so well. Even the commentators were saying that's the old Andy right there, and for sure it was.

I think it's just that. It's been a physical struggle, so to say, you know, more than anything else. Obviously his game is always there, and it's always going to be there. Maybe a little bit of confidence here and there, but it's been more physical. To see him moving the way he's moving now, especially on the slick grass, it's great to see. Obviously not as an opponent but as a fan of the sport, it's really awesome to see.

Q. Just related to what you have been saying, you have obviously got a huge amount of admiration and respect for Andy. When you go out on the court, how are you going to switch that off and shut down and just play the player, the World No. 118, if you like, and not get caught up in the Wimbledon legend he's Andy Murray? How do you go about it?

DENIS SHAPOVALOV: Well, I've been playing these top guys, you know, a couple times now, so for me it's not a problem to turn the switch off anymore. Obviously the first couple times you go up against them, it's definitely a different match.

Now it's pretty much, you know, the same thing for me. It's just I'm going up against another opponent. I know he's a great player, and he's very difficult, but I'm focusing on my game and what I can do. So for me it's not too difficult anymore to switch that.

But for sure it's, you know, I think it's normal to have appreciation for what these guys have done in the sport and always show respect. I don't think there is anything ever wrong with that. So I try to do that whenever, you know, whenever I get the chance.

Q. Saw you played Queen's Club and made a good run to the semifinals. That's the best you have ever done in grass. Do you think you're improving all the time on the surface?

DENIS SHAPOVALOV: For sure I definitely felt like grass is a surface that could be really, really good for my game. It's just been about, you know, growing on it and taking the years to really improve on it, because obviously it's such a short season on it, and it's not like you can practice any time, you know, in the year on it. It's just like these couple weeks.

So definitely have to use the weeks that you're playing to really improve. Throughout the years I knew this is going to be the case, I knew I'm not just going to pop up on the grass and start winning. I knew it was going to be a process.

So for sure with every year I've felt myself get better on this surface, and I do still think there is a lot of room to grow. But for sure this is hands down probably the best season, for sure, I mean, results speaking, that I've had on grass to this point.

So hopefully I can keep it going. But definitely, like I said, it's always been a surface that I felt I could be effective on.

Q. The conditions tend to be probably a little bit slower and heavier sort of play in the early evening than maybe at lunchtime. Obviously the crowd possibly can get more behind a home player in the evening, but do you think sort of in the technical terms it maybe helps you a little bit in this matchup, playing sort of early evening?

DENIS SHAPOVALOV: Playing in what, playing in slower conditions?

Q. Yeah. Well, potentially. We don't know what the weather is going to be like, but...

DENIS SHAPOVALOV: Yeah. I don't know. I feel like the grass is tricky because it's different every day and every court is different. But I do feel like Andy has played a couple of matches on Centre Court and it seems to be slicker, so he's, you know, obviously got comfortable on there. It's going to be my first match, so it's going to be a little bit tricky to adjust.

Obviously it's easier when you have a long match, throughout five sets, you have time to kind of get used to the conditions, so it's great for that.

But, you know, I don't know. It's honestly tough to say if it's better for me to play on a faster court against Andy or slower. Just depends on the moment. Just depends on our games that day. That's really about it.

Q. Andy Murray is quite a determined character and has a tendency of taking matches to four, five sets, three hours maybe. Are you mentally and physically ready to go deep and to go the distance to beat Andy Murray? Because he's not going to give you an inch.

DENIS SHAPOVALOV: Yeah, for sure (smiling). He's definitely well-known for that, but, yeah, for sure I'm ready, and I'm hoping to have a long match and, you know, and a long battle.

I mean, that's what I love play for. I'm definitely ready. Physically I feel great. Obviously the two days' rest helped a lot, so for sure I feel ready to go.

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