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January 19, 2022

Denis Shapovalov

Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Press Conference


7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 7-5, 6-2

THE MODERATOR: An incredible five-set match today. Can you please take us through the match?

DENIS SHAPOVALOV: Yeah, definitely a super difficult match. Knew going into it that it's going to be tough. But, yeah, it was difficult. Kind of getting over the second and third set because I had a lot of chances in both sets, a lot of opportunities that just weren't going my way.

But I did a good job of just flipping the script, kept fighting, and, yeah, really happy to get away with it.

THE MODERATOR: And how did you find the conditions out there today?

DENIS SHAPOVALOV: Yeah, definitely tricky. For sure it was a little swirly with the wind there, definitely not easy to play, but I do think it was a little bit luckier being in a big stadium. It was not as windy as the outside courts. But it was definitely hot and windy, so I mean it was, like fun conditions to play in.


Q. I wanted to ask you about the relationship with Jamie, how it came about, how you're finding it, what the dynamics are. How did it come about, first of all?

DENIS SHAPOVALOV: Yeah, I mean, split with Misha at the end of the season last year and obviously I was looking for a coach and I had heard that Jamie and Andy had split about, but I wasn't really sure about the situation because they split, but then they were kind of back together or something.

So there was something there, so I just called Jamie and kind of talked to him and see, you know, see if he would be interested to come out and work with me. And I think, yeah, from the moment we started it's been really great. I feel like he's been listening to me a lot and learning about me, learning the way I am, and I'm also figuring him out as well.

But obviously he's a guy with so much experience being with Andy for so many years and he's been at the top with Andy so he's got a lot of great experience and it's definitely something I can use and learn from. And, yeah, it's very early on. We did a week in Abu Dhabi and then this is basically our second week together or third week, you can call it, but it's very early on, but I think we get along really well. I think the couple of things that we worked on already have added to my game quite a bit and, yeah, definitely in a great spot I think with him.

Q. You have Reilly Opelka in the next round. What are you expecting?

DENIS SHAPOVALOV: It's going to be tricky. He's a big guy, obviously, big server, so it's going to be a lot of guessing from my end and just kind of trying to take my opportunities when I get them and I have to stay patient and take care of business on my serve.

Q. Just to get back to Jamie quickly. I know Jamie spent time with Andy. I don't know Misha as well, but they seem like very different characters, I mean, than your previous coach. Is that something you were actively seeking?

DENIS SHAPOVALOV: Yes and no. I mean, yeah, for sure I wanted something different. I just felt like, again like I've said before, me and Misha, we got along really, really well and we remain really good friends, I think, and we're texting all the time, but it just wasn't working. We just didn't have the results we wanted. I think from both sides, we kind of figured it was the right call to split.

So for sure, I mean, it's not like I wanted something completely different from Misha, but I definitely think that a guy like Jamie that's had the experience that really knows what to do and what to say in certain moments, and I think he's got a great eye for tennis and my game, I think a guy like that is definitely great.

And for sure of course everyone's different. Of course he's different than Misha was and of course you don't want the same person. Of course you want something different. So it's something I'm definitely looking forward to and I think Jamie has just been a great leader from the start. He's been in conversations with everyone on the team and everyone's really working well together and I think that's a very important thing.

Q. You mentioned a couple of things that you worked on that you feel are helping you. Can I ask what those things are?

DENIS SHAPOVALOV: Yeah, I mean, I don't want to share too much just because it's certain things that I feel that still need to get better, but of course I took Jamie in to clean up my net game, work on that. Obviously he was very good at the net himself, so for sure I felt like he could help me there.

I think just movement-wise and experience-wise as well. Like I said, he's been with Andy through the big moments and it's just learning from him and working on how to prep for slams and how to prep for big events.

Q. I wanted to ask you actually about a specific moment in the match. I think it was fourth set you were serving 2-2 and Kwon had a break point opportunity. You produced kind of like a no-look backhand overhead. Do you remember the point I'm talking about and I guess in the grand scheme of things how important was that shot in that moment, really?

DENIS SHAPOVALOV: Yeah, it was definitely a very big moment. I think it definitely helped me win the match today. Obviously he had a good look there, I think he could have went cross, I think the cross court was open for him, but he chose to go with the lob and I was able to execute the backhand really well.

So that really kind of flipped the momentum a little bit, I felt and I was able to stay in the match and obviously break later in that set. But, you know, it's, for sure it's a big moment, but at the same time I also had a lot of chances and moments that weren't going my way. So at the end of the day it's tennis and, yeah, I mean, I'm sure he would love to take that back and go cross, you know, but it is what it is.

Q. Just following up on, you know, talking about opportunities that you missed here and there, but still come through. Do you think this is the type of match, you missed the set points in the third set and fall behind, do you think this is the kind of match you would have won three or four years ago or is this the type of match you win now because of maybe your maturity and growth?

DENIS SHAPOVALOV: Yeah, definitely easy match to lose and I think for sure two, three years ago I lose that fourth set and I lose the match, most definitely.

But, yeah, I mean, there's only one thing you can do at that situation when things aren't going your way and that's to fight and to try to give everything you have, even when you feel like luck is against you or it's just not going your way. So, yeah, it is maturity, definitely happy with the way I was able to fight, able to come through and change the match, for sure.

Q. What was the big difference from the final set and the previous four sets?

DENIS SHAPOVALOV: I just think that, I mean, I was able to maintain my level, but I felt like Kwon just dropped a little bit physicality, I feel like he got a little bit tired, and I think maybe a little bit of experience as well. You know, I played quite a few five-set matches leading up to this one, so I knew exactly when to press, when to kind of not go for it or not push.

So I think I was able to, you know, play really well in those moments and, yeah, he might have dropped a little bit and I felt his belief slip away a little bit after the fourth set, so I definitely tried to take advantage of that.

Q. How was your feeling after the second set? It was very close match, and you were leading to the tiebreak, but you lost. How was your mindset and then to go back to the game?

DENIS SHAPOVALOV: Yeah, yeah, the third set I think you mean. Yeah, it was very difficult because I felt like, yeah, in the second set I had, I think I had one set point on his serve and then in the third set I had, you know, I was leading the tiebreak, so obviously I was very frustrated, very pissed.

But like I said before, you just have to buckle down and fight, that's all I could do, even though I felt like it wasn't going my way. I mean, he was staying so solid in the big points, I felt like sooner or later, you know, one or two of these opportunities are going to go my way and I just have to stay patient for it and try to do everything I can and if it doesn't go my way, well it doesn't.

But, yeah, I just tried to give it my all in the fourth and, you know, that's all I could really expect from myself.

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