Denis Shapovalov He went toe-to-toe with the world’s best player for nearly three hours on Friday at Wimbledon, but walked off center court with tears in his eyes after Novak Djokovic Through their semi-final battle in straight sets.
The Canadian has been growing in confidence for the two weeks, fighting past two times champion Britain’s Andy Murray Also, the eighth Roberto Bautista Agut And the twenty-fifth seed Karen Khachanov To achieve his best result in the Grand Slam so far.
But facing world number 1 Djokovic, who is crowning Wimbledon for the third time in a row, he came late in the crucial moments. He let 10 of his 11 break opportunities slip away, and although he served well, he was broken once at the end of each set as Djokovic took a 7-6 (3), 7-5, 7-5 win.
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After that, Shapovalov said: “I think what happened to me a lot this time was that I felt that the match was there and that it was possible to go and play for the cup.” “It’s a feeling I’ve never felt before, which is why it was so painful. I felt like I beat Novak for parts of the match. If you beat Novak, you can beat anyone.
“It was very painful… It was a lot of pressure, a lot of mental fatigue. Like, everything spilled out onto the field before I could control myself.”
For Shapovalov, the disappointment of the victory was still tempered by many positives – after all, the 10th seed was playing his first Grand Slam semi-final at the age of 22. He backed the grasscourt swing of the best of his career which saw him reach his first tour-level semi-final on his favorite deck at The Queen’s Club in preparation for Wimbledon. It will return to its professional 10th place globally as a result when the new FedEx ATP Rankings are published on Monday.
A great attempt in his tenth singles match only in #wimbledon
– Wimbledon (@wimbledon) July 9, 2021
But most importantly, the left-wing shooter has proven – to the world and to him – that he has what it takes to challenge the players at the top of the ATP FedEx ratings.
“It’s almost nice to have a little flair, because it just makes me want it so much more than going to the next four slams and in the future,” he said. “Now I know exactly what I am capable of and where my game could be. And also things that I can improve also to beat Novak next time or go one step further.”
Proving it in court is one thing. But it’s also helpful to hear it from the No. 1 ranked in the world. Shapovalov revealed that after seeing his feelings after the match, Djokovic approached him in the locker room and offered him words of encouragement.
“He just told me he knows how hard it is for me now,” Shapovalov said. He told me that everything would come. For me, it comes from someone like him. He doesn’t have to do this. It just shows what kind of person he is. It’s really nice for someone like me to hear about it.
“I have great respect for him. He is definitely one of the greatest players of all time. It is great to hear those words from him.”