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June 29, 2021

Denis Shapovalov

Wimbledon, London, UK

Press Conference

D. SHAPOVALOV/P. Kohlschreiber

6-4, 4-6, 6-3, 5-7, 6-4

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. It's your first win at Wimbledon in three years. Obviously there has been a two-year wait. Maybe that sounds a little worse than it is. How good does it feel to get that victory, especially considering it had to go to five sets today?

DENIS SHAPOVALOV: Yeah, definitely a great feeling to win this match, especially against a great player like Philipp. Honestly, I'm a huge fan of his game. Growing up I watched him several times at the Rogers Cup and I always loved the way he played.

It's great to see him back in such great form. It was definitely not a really easy first-round match. Wasn't too happy when I saw that draw, but I'm really happy that I was able to get the win.

Q. Tell us about that rain delay and what effect it had. Seemed like you were a bit concerned about the condition of the court when you first got on there.

DENIS SHAPOVALOV: Yeah, it was definitely slippery and humid. I think Philipp felt it, as well. Yeah, but at the end of the day, I mean, we had to play, so it's tough. I mean, I don't blame anyone. It's really tough for the tournament with this weather and stuff, you know.

So any five minutes, ten minutes, it's really, you know, big here. It's nothing more than that. Yeah, I did feel it was slippery or wet, but it was the same for both guys.

Q. You had already announced that you weren't going to be going to the Olympic Games. Just today it was revealed who would be going for Canada with Felix and Vasek going playing singles and doubles on the men's side and then Bianca, Leylah Annie, Gaby, and Sharon on the women's. What can you say about the depth of the squad that Canada is sending this year? Do you feel they have a strong chance to bring home a medal for Canadian tennis?

DENIS SHAPOVALOV: Yeah, definitely I think it's very, very good chances. Obviously Felix and Vasek, Vasek being such a great doubles player and Felix, if he's playing solid, I mean, they definitely can bring a medal, for sure.

The same with Bianca. You know, it's just about her being physically ready. She can beat any player in the world, so for sure it's very, very nice chances.

Q. You were sort of talking about how tough of a draw Philipp is. To what extent is getting through such a tough match with such a guy who has sort of been there and done that in the first round of a major helped you mentally moving forward?

DENIS SHAPOVALOV: Yeah, I mean, it's a huge weight off my back. It's always difficult. Going in first round of a major, you don't know exactly how the courts are, especially here, because you can't really practice too much on it and stuff to know what kind of feelings you're going to have out there.

It was very difficult, so for sure I was really happy that I was able to pull through and play the way I did and come up with big points when I needed them, especially against Philipp who is, you know, definitely, definitely really underrated right now. Obviously he's dropped his ranking because he's been injured, but he's a really, really tough competitor.

So it's a really good win for me.

Q. I want to ask you a little bit about Sebastian Korda, because he said that you and he had been practicing during the pandemic. That was really good practice at the time. He kind of give you credit because he made a huge progress during that period of time. So can you talk a little bit about how it was that time of practicing with Sebastian and how did you see his progress?

DENIS SHAPOVALOV: Yeah, definitely. I mean, I remember talking with Misha during the practices, just like looking at each other, like, Why is this guy not top 100? Because he definitely has and had the game. I think it was probably a little bit more mental and just about timing, too, and just like a matter of time until he played well.

Yeah, I think the six months for him was good to just like practice with a couple top guys like me and Lorenzi and just see it's not that scary at the top level. His game is definitely capable of playing against guys like us, so for sure I think it gave him a little bit of comfort to know that he has the game to make it here.

For sure, I mean, even when I played him at US Open first round, it was not an easy first round. Another round that was not easy against him. You know, I knew that shortly he's going to have a good breakthrough, and truly he did. I mean, he's a great player. He's just going to continue to improve and climb the rankings.

Q. You have been playing tournaments for most of your life, and you have been through a lot of rain delays in your life too probably. What's the difference between let's say when it happens in juniors or before the match even starts and in the middle of a match against a really tough opponent at Wimbledon? Like what's the most important thing to not think about while you're sitting around waiting for the rain to stop?

DENIS SHAPOVALOV: It depends on the situation, depends on how much time you have in between. I think the break was pretty long today, so actually it was pretty nice for the both of us. We kind of got a good breather. You know, we were able to recover quite a bit.

But I think when it's short you've just got to get the body stretched out a little bit, or at least I do, and kind of keep moving, try not to stop too much.

It really depends on the situation, on, you know, how long the rain delay is going to be. I think it's always different. You know, then you pick out do you want to eat, do you want to wait, do you want to just snack. It all really, really depends.

Q. Before Wimbledon, you played two grass court tournaments, Stuttgart and Queen's. How are your feelings on this surface? Do you like to play on grass? Is it one of your favorite surfaces?

DENIS SHAPOVALOV: Yeah, I think it was a really good lead-up to Wimbledon. I think Queen's was a really, really great tournament for me, you know, making semifinals of that tournament. I don't think I ever passed the second round. So it was really good.

Stuttgart, as well. I played two great matches, I beat Lopez who is really great on grass. Lost to Cilic, but he's been playing really, really high-level tennis, so for sure I felt comfortable leading up to Wimbledon.

Definitely do enjoy playing on these courts. For sure it's one of my favorites. It always has been. It's just been about, you know, learning more to play on this surface, but I have always felt like this surface can be great for my game. So it's just been about learning to play on it and just spending the time, spending the years.

Obviously the season for grass is so, so short, and you can't really practice on it during other times of the year. You know, you're not going to find grass courts.

It's very important you improve in every one of these years, you know, leading up, and hopefully, you know, in a couple years I can really be a big contender here. I do feel like this surface does suit my game.

Q. You have made no secret about loving Wimbledon and wanting to do well here. I'm curious to know how you deal with maybe the expectations you set up for yourself? Because it's clearly something you're gunning for. Is it tough to kind of manage it and keep yourself even keel as you approach this match by match?

DENIS SHAPOVALOV: No, I don't think so. I think it was proven today that everyone is very, very tough. Every match is a battle, so it's not about, you know, pacing yourself or whatever it is. It's just about just dealing with the next opponent and getting ready for that match, and then, you know, if I go through with that, then you deal with the next one.

But honestly, I don't look ahead. I just get ready for this match, and that's it. I don't set any expectations. I just try to stay in the moment I'm in now.

Q. Your decision to skip Roland Garros and to get your shoulder where you needed it to be, how important was that for you now that you look back? How good do you feel health-wise?

DENIS SHAPOVALOV: Yeah, it was definitely, definitely not, I think, the decision I loved, but I think it was the right decision. I think, you know, it definitely gave the shoulder enough rest and time to kind of regroup.

And also the rehab and everything I did, you know, just strengthening myself a little bit more, getting ready for the grass courts, so far it's been really great. Obviously to this point I have had probably my best grass court season, so it's definitely, I think, was the right call.

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