Tennis

‘This man goes solely in a single path’: Denis Shapovalov leads Canadian singles hopes at Wimbledon

Doubles nice Daniel Nestor has had a first-hand take a look at the star energy of fellow Canadian Denis Shapovalov.

They’ve been Davis Cup teammates and occasional follow companions, they usually’ve even teamed up on the doubles courtroom. Nestor, who’s properly into his third decade on the ATP World Tour, has been wowed by {the teenager} from Richmond Hill, Ont.

“He has a lot firepower and athleticism,” Nestor mentioned. “I’m in awe simply from hitting with him. This man goes solely in a single path.”

Shapovalov broke out final season and has been on a gradual stand up the world rankings. The 19-year-old at the moment sits at No. 26 and can lead Canadian hopes in singles play with 32nd-ranked Milos Raonic of Thornhill, Ont., beginning Monday at Wimbledon.

Raonic is the 13th seed on the All-England Membership, whereas Shapovalov is 26th. Grand Slam occasions are given leeway to stray from the world rankings if desired.

Shapovalov will face the 46th-ranked Jeremy Chardy of France within the first spherical and will face Scotsman and former world No. 1 Andy Murray — who’s coming off an 11-month harm absence — within the second spherical. Raonic opens in opposition to Liam Broady of Nice Britain and unseeded Vasek Pospisil of Vancouver takes on Mikhail Kukushkin of Kazakhstan.

Denis Shapovalov pumps his first throughout his match in opposition to Jared Donaldson on the Nature Valley Worldwide at Devonshire Park in Eastbourne, United Kingdom, on June 27. Bryn Lennon / Getty Photos

A fourth Canadian man — Peter Polansky of Thornhill — obtained into the primary draw on Friday as a fortunate loser for the third consecutive Grand Slam. Fortunate losers are gamers who lose within the remaining spherical of qualifying, however are eligible to take a spot in the primary discipline (based mostly on world rating) when one other participant drops out or is injured.

Polansky will battle Dennis Novak of Austria within the first spherical.

Eugenie Bouchard of Westmount, Que., superior by means of the ladies’s singles qualifying draw and can face British wild card Gabriella Taylor in her main-draw opener on the July 2-15 event.

Nestor, who acquired a wild-card doubles entry with Austria’s Jurgen Melzer, mentioned Shapovalov will likely be helped by gaining expertise in large conditions — when a key level or two can swing a match — as he continues his development on tour.

“He has the absolute best issues together with his sport,” Nestor mentioned from London in a current interview. “He has a lot potential that he has to virtually maintain again and attempt to management his talents as a result of he has a lot energy and explosiveness. I believe it’s virtually typically a detriment to him as a result of he’s overdoing it.

“He doesn’t have to take action a lot to win matches. That’s not a nasty drawback to have.”

It may be straightforward to neglect that Shapovalov continues to be adjusting to life on the ATP World Tour. He was primarily enjoying lower-level ITF and Challenger tour occasions main as much as Wimbledon final season.

He was ranked 164th when he made his Wimbledon main-draw debut final yr, falling to Jerzy Janowicz in 4 units. Shapovalov’s star rose when he returned to North America later that summer season.

He reached the semifinals on the Rogers Cup in Montreal and made it to the spherical of 16 on the U.S. Open. Shapovalov had arrived and the tennis world took discover.

He was voted the ATP most improved participant of the yr by his fellow gamers and an ATP Star of Tomorrow for being the youngest participant to complete within the prime 100.

Shapovalov enters the third Grand Slam of the yr with an 18-15 report this season, highlighted by his run to the semifinals in Madrid in Could.

Whereas nonetheless considerably missing in grass-court expertise, Shapovalov’s pace, energy and finesse can handcuff many an opponent. He additionally has the power to dictate the play.

“I really feel like that’s the case with a variety of the folks he’s enjoying,” Nestor mentioned. “I believe that’s an excellent place to be in.”

It’s tough to foretell what Raonic may be able to on the grass-court event. He reached the Stuttgart Open remaining this month however needed to pull out of the Queen’s Membership event as a result of a proper pectoral pressure.

Ottawa’s Gabriela Dabrowski, in the meantime, has emerged as a drive on the ladies’s and combined doubles scene during the last yr.

She is seeded sixth in girls’s doubles with China’s Yifan Xu. They face American Alison Riske and Olga Savchuk of Ukraine within the first spherical.

The combined doubles draw will likely be launched Wednesday. Dabrowski and Mate Pavic of Croatia received the combined title on the Australian Open earlier this yr and reached the combined remaining on the French Open.

Nestor and Melzer face sixth seeds Alexander Peya of Austria and Nikola Mektic of Croatia within the opening spherical of males’s doubles. Pospisil and American accomplice Ryan Harrison sq. off with Germans Philipp Petzschner and Tim Puetz.

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