Denis Shapovalov aims at qualifying for the ATP Finals within three years
Denis Shapovalov made his breakthrough last August when he beat Juan Martin Del Potro and Rafa Nadal en route to reaching his first Masters 1000 semifinal at the Rogers Cup in Montreal. He became the youngest ever Masters 1000 semifinalist. As a qualifier he reached the fourth round at the US Open to become the youngest player since Marat Safin at 1998 Roland Garros to qualify for this stage at a Grand Slam tournament.
The Canadian teenager went on to reach the fourth round at the US Open and qualified for the first edition of the ATP Next Gen Finals in Milan. Shapovalov was honoured with the Most Improved Award and the ATP Star of Tomorrow Award during the ATP Finals in London. The Canadian teenager started the year at world number 250 in the ATP Ranking and ended the year as the world number 51 after breaking the top 50 during the season.
Shapovalov was recently interviewed by Spanish newspaper Marca and said that he would like to qualify for the ATP Finals within three years.
“The comeback surprised me and the only thing I hope is that they don’t play for a longer time. It would be difficult to qualify for the Masters if they keep playing. I would like to play the Masters within three years and for that. I need that they start preparing for their retirement. They have played unbelievably well and they have proved that they are real champions despite their injuries and age. It’s very good to see them play, but for my interests I hope that they retire soon”, said Shapovalov.
Shapovalov was asked about the differences between the ATP Tour and Challengers.
“In the Challengers matches are always very balanced. On the ATP Tour you feel that everyone is hungrier to win. Every match counts a lot because it’s many points and much money at stake. None gives you anything. This is the big difference between the ATP Tour and the Challengers”.
Another Next Gen player Alexander Zverev won two Masters 1000 titles in Rome and Montreal and ended the year ranked world number 4. Shapovalov said that the German was a reference point but that the Canadian wants to follow his path.
“What Sasha has done is unbelievable. He had a great season and I hope I was in his position but everyone follows his own path. One has to go step by step. What I hope is that I can be as successful as him in the future”.
Shapovalov is coached by Martin Laurendeau, who no longer works as Canadian Davis Cup captain to focus on coaching the Canadian teenager and has been replaced by Frank Dancevic. During the interview Shapovalov admitted that he will contine working with his coach but that he would be open to a partnership with John McEnroe.
“I won’t change my coach. At the moment I don’t need anyone else but it’s clear that John is a great coach and I don’t see why he can’t help me”.