Canada’s Rising Star

Full Name: Denis Shapovalov

Birth Date: 15 April 1999

Place of Birth: Israel

Playing Years: 2017 to present

Highest Ranking: No. 27 (11 June 2018)

Awards:

ATP Star of Tomorrow 2017

ATP Most Improved Player 2017

Tennis Canada Male Player of the Year 2017

Lionel Conacher Award 2017

Formative Years

With its neighbouring country United states having its own rising star Taylor Fritz, Canada is, at the same time having her own newest big thing, the 19-year-old Denis Shapovalov. Canada’s rising tennis star was born in Tel Aviv to Russian parents who moved to Israel. The family moved to Ontario, Canada even before Denis turned a year old.

Denis’s mother Tessa was on the Soviet national tennis team, and eventually worked as a coach in a club in Ontario, where the young player started to play the sport. Since he began to play tennis at the age of 5, Denis became deeply obsessed with the sport. Seeing her son’s wild interest with the game, Tessa eventually opened her own tennis academy where she honed her son’s tennis skills.

Denis’s first coach was her mother, but as he progressed, the family decided to hire Adriano Fuorivia, who was manager of tennis development for Tennis Canada. The new coach had help Denis achieve the 2015 US Open Juniors Doubles title and the 2016 Wimbledon Junior singles title. By the end of his junior career, he compiled an impressive singles win/loss record of 86-32.

Professional Career

Despite having just recently turned pro in February 2017, Denis is already well-decorated with achievements. In the first year of his professional career, he already beat world No. 31 Juan Martín del Potro in a match in Rogers cup. In the following match, he beat world No. 2 Rafael Nadal, his first win against a Top 10.

In the same year, he also became the youngest lowest-ranked semi-finalist of the ATP Masters 1000 since No. 191 Pavel in the 2003 Paris circuit. To compliment this, he also became the youngest player to reach US Open 4R that year. By the later part of the year, he was the youngest player since Rafael Nadal to have made it to the Top 50 when he became world No. 49.

In 2018, his second year as pro, he is youngest to have broke into the quarter-finals and semi-finals in ATP Masters 1000 Madrid. By 21 May, he became Canada’s No. 1. In the following month, he was the youngest player to have in the Top 25 at the age of 19, his career’s highest ranking yet. He had advanced all the way to the 2R Australian Open and Wimbledon in the ATP Masters 1000, but he withdrew from the tour after suffering an injury in the right knee. He progressed in the Next Gen ATP finals, but again withdrew, this time, due to exhaustion.

Despite having a dual Israeli and Canadian citizenship, Denis exclusively plays for Canada, and his excellent performance had sparked the excitement of the country’s tennis scene. With the country producing relatively less athletic stars in the sport, Denis Shapovalov is highly-regarded in Canada as its newest big thing in tennis.

By EliaasMJ

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