Denis Shapovalov is leading the way as one of the young stars in Canadian tennis. At 19, he became his country’s highest-ranked male player. Understandably, he is one of their best Grand Slam hopes.
Now let’s look at Shapovalov’s life and career progress so far.
|1.85 m (6’1”)||75 kg (165 lbs)||Born: April 15th, 1999||Father: Viktor Shapovalov |
Mother: Tessa Shapovalova
Brother: Evgeniy Shapovalov
Who Is Denis Shapovalov?
Denis Viktorovich Shapovalov is a Canadian tennis player who turned professional in 2017. Considering he has only been playing for a few years, he has already achieved significant milestones.
His parents are originally from the Soviet Union, but they relocated to Tel Aviv, Israel when the Soviet Union dissolved in the early 1990s. It was here that Tessa started to coach tennis. While in Israel, both Denis and his older brother Evgeniy were born.
Shortly after Denis was born, he moved with his family to Ontario, Canada. In their newly adopted country, his mother continued working as a tennis coach. It was not until Denis turned five that he picked up a racket himself, and it didn’t take long for him to fall in love with the sport.
Nowadays, he still represents Canada both on the ATP tour and in the Davis Cup, though he resides in the Bahamas. Shapovalov can speak both English and Russian.
His Career So Far
Denis Shapovalov’s first main draw appearance at a Grand Slam came at the 2017 Wimbledon Championships. Although he lost in the first round, he registered his first major victory a couple of months later at the US Open. In only his second Grand Slam tournament, he performed extremely well to reach the 4thround.
This early run would be his best result until the 2020 US Open. On that occasion, he reached the latter stage of a Grand Slam for the first time with his quarter-final finish. By the end of the 2021 season, he had earned 134 singles wins and one ATP title (Stockholm, 2019).
Denis’ ranking is probably the most impressive aspect of his career to date. Just after his 19th birthday, he cracked the top 30 in the ATP rankings. In doing so, he overtook Milos Raonic to become Canada’s number 1 player while still a teenager.
He achieved his first top-10 ranking in September 2020. Between November 2019 and the end of 2021, his world ranking never dropped below 19.
A 2021 Wimbledon Semi-Finalist
Denis came closest to Grand Slam glory at the 2021 Wimbledon Championships, where he made his first-ever semi-final appearance at this level. A highlight of this run was defeating home favorite and two-time Wimbledon winner Andy Murray on Center Court. He also got the better of fellow rising star Karen Khachanov to set up a dream semi-final with Novak Djokovic.
Going in as the underdog, it was no surprise that Shapovalov lost his first semi-final encounter. Although he did lose in straight sets, it was a very close match (7-6, 7-5, 7-5). He also lost to the eventual champion, so he can be proud of this performance.
At ATP Masters 1000 competitions, he has one final and four semi-final appearances to his name. His first Masters 1000 semi-final came in his home tournament in Montreal. Having just become an adult, 18-year old Shapovalov shocked everybody by beating Juan Martin Del Potro and then Rafael Nadal in succession.
His maiden Masters 1000 final match came at the 2019 Paris Masters where he again lost to Djokovic in straight sets. In 2019, Denis was also a member of the Canadian Davis Cup team that reached the final. Unfortunately, Canada lost the tie to the Spanish team. Denis played and lost the second rubber to Rafael Nadal.
Aside from his tournament results, it is noteworthy that Shapovalov became Canada’s top male doubles player in 2019 after achieving the same feat in singles in 2018.
Denis Shapovalov – Player Profile
- 1.85 m (6’1”)
At 1.85 m tall, Denis Shapovalov is, by some standards, in the ideal height range for a male professional. He is the exact same height as legends of the game, including Nadal, Federer, and Sampras. Even though he is not a giant, he imposes a physical presence on his opponents during matches.
His aggressive and hard-hitting game means that his rivals cannot easily dictate points against him. Denis is not the tallest player, but he is far from short and still moves around the court with impressive speed.
- 75 kg (165 lbs)
Shapovalov is relatively light compared to his fellow professionals, especially those of equal height. For example, Dominic Thiem and Aslan Karatsev are the same height as Shapovalov, yet they weigh 79 and 85 kg (174 and 187 lbs) respectively.
Despite his slender frame, Denis Shapovalov’s shots certainly pack a punch. His forehand and backhand are atomic and can generate winners from any position on the court. Based on the weight of his shots, you might guess that he weighs 10-15 kg more.
- Born: April 15th, 1999
Shapovalov has so far recorded less impressive results than fellow “next-gen” athletes like Medvedev, Zverev, and Tsitsipas. However, he is younger than these three players. With more years left in his career, there is time for him to match or even surpass them.
Even at such a young age, he has proven himself to be a fearless competitor who tries to defeat anyone he faces emphatically. By 2021, Denis had achieved 8 victories against top-10 opponents. If he can mature mentally, he will start winning more frequently against elite opposition.
- Father: Viktor Shapovalov
- Mother: Tessa Shapovalova
- Brother: Evgeniy Shapovalov
Shapovalov’s father Viktor is Russian. His mother is Ukrainian-Jewish and represented the Soviet Union during her career. Hence, Denis Shapovalov is yet another young and successful player on the ATP Tour with ties to the Soviet Union.
Despite knowing little English, Tessa Shapovalova managed to find a coaching job weeks after arriving in Canada. Once Denis began playing more seriously, he couldn’t get enough practice time at the facility where his mother worked. His mother decided to start her own tennis academy to ensure that Denis could progress.
Tessa was her son’s first coach and continues to mentor him today. In the meantime, Denis Shapovalov has partnered with other coaches to improve his game. Most notably, he began working with Mikhail Youzhny before the 2019 US Open.
Final Thoughts on Denis Shapovalov
Shapovalov’s career so far has had periods of brilliance, though he has lacked consistency at the elite tournaments. He is one of the most exciting players because, unlike some of his peers, he tries to finish points in style rather than sticking to safe or defensive baseline rallies.
Shapovalov won Wimbledon as a junior in 2016. By reaching the semi-final of the senior competition in 2021, he showed that grass is probably his best surface. His first Masters 1000 final was on a hard court, as was his first ATP title, so he performs well on this surface too.
His attacking style is perhaps not best suited to clay ― at Roland Garros, for instance, he has never gone beyond the second round.
While his chances of a future Wimbledon crown look good, it is still too early to predict whether Shapovalov will be a dominant player and multiple slam winner or not.