From Injury To Mental Health - Denis Shapovalov Opens Up Ahead Of Estoril Campaign - UBITENNIS
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From Injury To Mental Health – Denis Shapovalov Opens Up Ahead Of Estoril Campaign

The world No.14 spoke about a variety of topics in Portugal ahead of his next campaign on the Tour.

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Denis Shapovalov has officially landed in Estoril and on Monday he took the time to speak to the media ahead of his first match.

 

At the age of 22 he is the top seed in an ATP event for only the second time in his career after Sofia last year. He is one out of nine top 50 players in the Estoril draw with all of the six highest ranked players never previously playing in the tournament. Ahead of his first match, Shapovalov spoke about a variety of topics ranging from injury to bubble life on the Tour.

Why is he playing?

The Canadian confirmed the tournament reached out to him on Friday. He is coming off a third round loss to compatriot and good friend Felix Auger Aliassime in Barcelona where he made the decision with his team to play this week.

” I decided pretty late, I think they messaged me on Friday seeing if I want to play and I talk to Misha ( Youzhny) and my team and we decided it’s best to get a couple more matches in before Madrid,” said Shapovalov. “To get more points situations in so that’s really what I want to get from this week.”

Injury update

Shapovalov did confirm that he no longer has an issue with his shoulder and he feels fine and ready to go.

”The shoulder feels fine but I’m still feeling it, it’s nothing serious, something I can play through, and honestly just here to get some more matches.”

Nearly went to another country

He did confirm before deciding to play that he was planning to spend a couple days in Greece where he has a place but when he got the call he realized how close it was from Spain to Portugal so he opted to make the trip.

”It was a pretty easy transition, it was pretty easy because I was planning to practice 3-4 days with Misha in Barcelona before going to Greece and we thought it could help get my feet a little more wet on the surface and just play a little bit more points.”

Form isn’t as good as last year

Shapovalov mentioned that his game on clay is not where it was last year in Rome, but he continues to work at it.

” I don’t think it’s where it was in Rome but I feel like Rome was a follow up from a really good tournament in New York. I was playing with a lot of confidence and I felt like I could roll through that tournament even though I was going through jet lag there and my body did not feel good. Just my game wise I felt really confident so I played two matches in Barcelona and I at least wanted to get one more match before Madrid and Rome before these big tournaments and both these events. I have been able to go far before and I feel I can play really well there but I just wanted to play a little more and that’s why I chose to come to this tournament”.

Is he a differnt player on the clay?

Shapovalov was asked if he sees a difference in-game when he is playing on clay as opposed to playing on hard. As well as the difference in the return game.

”No I don’t think the way I play changes, you just try to build the points a little bit more and you try to be a bit more patient constructing it on the clay, a lot of the guys are far back, it’s more slower so it’s tougher to hit and come in, you have to really pick the right ball, whatever surface I am playing on I always try to play aggressive and come in so it doesn’t really change”.

When he is at his most dangerous

Shapovalov is a player who likes to build off confidence and stressed the importance of using it to get better results.

” I think it just comes from matches, from wins, I think at the end of the day I don’t really care who I play against, I’m going to play my game, going to go for it and that’s the mindset I try to have and it doesn’t matter who is on the other side and when I can rattle off a few wins that’s when I think I’m dangerous and that’s when I think I can beat anyone”.

Felix-Auger Aliassime friendship

He was even asked about his friendship with Felix Auger Aliassime who he recently played in Barcelona and the friendship runs deep and as far back as the junior level.

” It’s great to see how far we made it the two of us from juniors from junior regrouping all the way through the junior rankings through the futures, through challengers, bouncing off each other success and each other results and playing at the highest level for sure it’s a pretty special feeling, I think it’s pretty cool and it’s great for Canada and for tennis in Canada so I think there are so many positives from it”

Verdict on playing clay

Shapovalov did confirm however that clay is not his favourite surface and he actually prefers to play on other surfaces.

” If I am being completely honest I prefer other surfaces but I do feel I have had good success on clay and I am able to play on it and I do love the feeling of playing on clay and the sliding, it is more grueling and longer points, I think my favorite is grass, there are practically no rallies and just serves and returns and it’s perfect and it’s like Canadian tennis indoors on super fast surfaces so it’s awesome but I do think I am able to play well on clay and the results have shown that so I do enjoy it but I do tend to look forward to the grass-court season”.

Being the top seed

Being the tournament new number one seed after taking the wild card means he has a first round bye and will play his first match against the winner of Corentin Moutet and Marcus Giron. He gave his thoughts on his next potential opponent.

” A tricky match, either way, I’ll see how they are playing, I haven’t seen Giron play too much so I will try and check out the match and obviously I know Corentin ( Moutet) really well and we even have a song together so I know him really well but I think he’s a really good player, a crafty player and I know him really well from juniors and we go way back so either way a tricky match but honestly it’s what I want and it’s something I am looking forward to and I think it’s going to be fun to be out there, going to be a tough battle”.

He also confirmed he was able to practice and check out the conditions of the court.

”Not center court but today was my first practice day, I landed yesterday, slow conditions here, it’s a little bit windy but the weather changes quite a lot so a lot of different things coming into play but it’s clay courts and I feel they are different every day depending on the conditions, depending on the weather, the humidity, they always play differently”.

mental health

Shapovalov this season has stressed the importance of mental health. He has mentioned several times he would be taking more weeks off due to the fact every tournament he plays would be in a bubble environment due to Covid and again opened up about how he is feeling ahead of the tournament.

” I feel good, I mean If I wasn’t ready to be in the bubble I wouldn’t have come to play but I do feel fresh and after Miami, I chose not to play Monte Carlo just to rest to be out of it for this reason so I could be fresh leading up to this long swing of events, I feel fresh, I feel good, It’s also a really good place, the room has a balcony and they have done a really good job here so it’s a really nice bubble so to speak”.

Shapovalov will most likely play his first match on Tuesday or Wednesday.

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Stefanos Tsitsipas sets up blockbuster third round match against Matteo Berrettini in Rome

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Stefanos Tsitsipas edged past Marin Cilic 7-5 6-2 to advance to third round at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome. 

 

Tsitsipas has improved his win-loss record to 28-7 this season, equalling Andrey Rublev for most match wins after Rublev beat Jan-Lennard Struff 6-7 (7-9) 6-1 6-4 earlier today. 

Tsitsipas had to save two break points in the ninth game to hold serve after four deuces. The 2021 Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters winner earned his crucial break in the 12th game to win a hard-fought first set 7-5. 

Tsitsipas was in control of the match and cruised to a 6-2 win in the second set with two breaks in the second and eighth games. 

“Sometimes I need to adjust my game and Marin is someone I respect a lot. I knew he was going to come out here and play his best tennis. He made move a lot. It was quite tricky to adjust to that at the beginning, but towards the very end of the first set I stayed calm and stayed calm and resilient. I had to play deep on the returns and find solutions from the baseline rallies. That worked well for me from 6-5”, said Tsitsipas. 

Tsitsipas set up a blockbuster third round match against last week’s Madrid Mutua Open finalist Matteo Berrettini, who beat John Millman 6-4 6-2 in front of fans, who will return on Thursday. Tsitsipas enjoyed the atmosphere on the Pietrangeli Stadium. 

“The Pietrangeli Stadium is very beautiful. It’s one of the best courts on tour. I feel like the Pietrangeli here is great. We are surrounded by trees in the city and it’s very quiet which is very important for tennis. Honestly, I can’t wait for the fans to come and fill in the stadium”, said Tsitsipas. 

Berrettini missed three consecutive break points in the third game of the opening set and earned his first break in the ninth game to take a 5-4 lead. The Rome-native star served out the first set at 15. Berrettini earned two consecutive breaks to race out to 4-0 lead. Millman saved a break point to hold serve in the fifth game, but Berrettini never looked back in his next two service games to claim the second set 6-2. 

Berrettini has improved with his each appearance in the Rome tournament, reaching the second round in 2018, the third round in 2019 and the quarter final in 2020. 

Tsitsipas beat Berrettini in their only head-to-head match at the 2019 Australian Open. 

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Alexander Zverev eases past Hugo Dellien to set up a third round match clash against Kei Nishikori in Rome

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This year’s Madrid Mutua Open champion Alexander Zverev cruised past qualifier Hugo Dellien 6-2 6-2 on Nicola Pietrangeli Court to move into the third round at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome. 

 

Zverev fired 27 winners and fended off all six of the break points he faced. The German won five consecutive games from 0-1 down with a double break to race out to a 5-1 lead and served out the opening set at 15 in the eighth game. 

Zverev went up a break in the third game to take a 2-1, but he had to save six break points in a 12-game fourth game. Zverev managed to hold serve after seven deuces before breaking serve in the fifth game to open up a 4-1 lead. The German served out the win on on his second match point in the eighth game. 

The  German star will face Kei Nishikori for the second time in two weeks. He beat Nishikori, Dan Evans, Rafael Nadal, Dominic Thiem and Matteo Berrettini last week at the Madrid Mutua Open en route to the fourth ATP Masters 1000 title of his career after claiming three previous trophies in Rome and Canada in 2017 and Madrid in 2018.  

Federico Delbonis didn’t face a break point and converted four of his nine break points in his 6-2 6-1 win over David Goffin. The Argentine player will take on Felix Auger Aliassime, who cruised past last year’s Rome finalist Diego Schwartzman 6-1 6-3. 

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Aslan Karatsev beats Danil Medvedev in all-Russian clash in Rome

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Aslan Karatsev beat his compatriot Danil Medvedev 6-2 6-4 after 1 hour and 18 minutes in an all-Russian match to move into the third round at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia at the Foro Italico in Rome. Karatsev has scored his fifth career win against top 10 opponents.

 

Karatsev has improved his win-loss record to 21-6 in his 27 matches this year, including the ATP 500 title in Dubai, the semifinal at the Australian Open and the final at the Serbian Open in Belgrade. 

Karatsev has scored his second top 5 win in the past month after taking an upset win over world number 1 Novak Djokovic in the semifinal in Belgrade. 

Karatsev earned a double break in the fifth and seventh games to open up a 5-2 lead. The 27-year-old Russian player earned another break in the seventh game with a volley to take a 4-3 lead. He never looked back and served out the win on his first match point in the 10th game. 

Karatsev won 90% of his first serve points and saved just one break point. 

Karatsev faced Medvedev for the first time in his career on the ATP Tour. They teamed up with Andrey Rublev at the ATP Cup in Melbourne last winter helping Russia win the final against Italy. 

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