“I’m going to fight for every point and believe in myself. I think I have the game to beat him, to win that game.” That was the overwhelming and optimistic answer he gave Denis Shapovalov when asked how he faced his duel against Novak Djokovic in the Wimbledon semi-finals. The 22-year-old Canadian and 12th in the world and the Serbian, 34 and number one, face off this Friday in the second turn of the center, after the other crossing that the Italian Matteo Berrettini and the Pole and Roger Federer’s executioner, Hubert Hurkacz play from 14:30 (#Let’s) in the center.
Shapovalov is confident in his options, despite Djokovic dominating the head-to-head by a resounding 6-0, and explains why: “We played a few times and he brought out the best in me. But the last two were very, very close (4-6, 6-1 and 7-6 (4) in the 2020 ATP Cup and double 7-5 in the 2020 ATP Cup. 2021). I feel very good physically and in terms of tennis “. Denis was born in Tel Aviv (Israel), but at less than a year his parents (Tessa, a Ukrainian Jew, and Viktor, a Russian Orthodox) moved with him to Vaughan (Ontario) and then to Toronto, where he began to play. Among his hobbies is rap, a musical discipline that he takes seriously. In fact, last year he recorded two songs that can be found on YouTube, Night train Y Drip.
He made himself known by beating Rafa Nadal at the 2018 Canadian 1,000 Masters, and so far his biggest success at Grand Slams had been the 2020 US Open quarters. He has gained in maturity and before arriving in London, on the grass tour he was a quarter-finalist in Stuttgart and a semi-finalist at Queen’s.
“I have been playing very well. I have a difficult battle ahead, but when one goes out to a match, the score is 0-0 and anything can happen”, insists Shapovalov, who reiterates the “full faith” he has in myself and in his game: “I am capable of winning. I don’t think about who has more experience. It really is about who plays better. Nothing is guaranteed.”. The two women in his life are his mother, who accompanies him as a coach but does not follow the matches on the court (“He sees them on streaming”; and his girlfriend, the Swedish tennis player Marjan Bjorklund, who is in the Bastad tournament, where he fell to the Spanish Aliona Bolsava.
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