What more can be said about Shapovalov’s game and potential? He’s an exciting… make that exhilarating player to watch. He also seems to revel in the chance to play the role of young, underestimated underdog. A rising hero who’s true potential is overlooked until it is too late. Shapovalov is in the middle of putting together another dream inspiring fairy tale run. What’s struck me the most is how much he’s warmed up to his new found fame and recognition.
This guy really reminds me of Rafael Nadal. However, with his beautiful one handed backhand, he does look like a cross between Nadal and Federer. His game is smooth and has that tinge of unpolished regality akin to Federer in his early days. Yet he does bristle with the same youthful exuberance and untamed intensity so reminiscent of the bull when he first took the ATP tour by storm. That seems like an almost unfair combination. The warning is out. There’s a young guy on tour who’s got game (lots of it) and mental toughness to boot.
What impresses me the most about Shapovalov though is not his game or how fired up he can get in a match. I really admire his humility and the willingness to get down to it when it comes to the work. He really puts in the hard yards and it shows. He is getting better with every tournament, maybe every match he plays. In Montreal, I talked about the need to improve his net game. Against Tsonga, his first volley was solid, almost every time. The scary part is it can still get better. I also enjoy watching the way he comports himself in his press conferences. He appears to have struck a good understanding with the press and his humility and frankness shows. They also seem to enjoy interviewing him as well.
I know you’ve heard it before with some other players but I’ll dare to say it again. This guy is going to be very good for the game. Let’s hope the run continues against Kyle Edmund. I wager no one wants it to end just yet.