It’s no secret Vasek Pospisil isn’t a fan of the red clay.
(Update: Pospisil has added Gimcheon and Seoul, the weeks of May 1 and 8 – both on hard courts. Shapovalov no longer is entered in Seoul – might have just been an administrative error).
We’re not sure why; there’s no reason he couldn’t be competent on it. And certainly he spent more time on the red stuff during his formative years, when he would travel to Prostejov, Czech Republic, than most of the North American kids. But it’s in his head.
With the French Open qualifying looming, Pospisil is headed to a pair of Challengers in Asia: Taipei the week of April 17 (on a hard court) and Anning, China the week of April 24 (on clay, although conditions are completely different from the French terre battue).
The Anning event’s prize money has gone up 50 per cent this year: from $100,000 (US) to $150,000.
The cutoff date for entry into the Roland Garros main draw is April 17; currently at No. 121 and with no tournament scheduled next week, Pospisil will have no shot at creeping up enough to squeeze in. So he will have to play qualifying.
As for Denis Shapovalov, who will make the cut for the French Open qualifying just a year after reaching the semi-finals of the juniors, the schedule appears to be a work in progress.
He is scheduled to play the southern U.S. circuit on Har-Tru this month.
His name was withdrawn from the Sarasota entry list (week of April 17), although he sent a Tweet indicating he was headed there, so they may have given him a wild card. He remains on the entry list for Tallahassee (week of April 24) and Savannah (week of May 1).
Shapovalov also is entered in the Seoul Challenger on hard court the week of May 8. That’s a long trip all the way to Asia for just a week on hard courts, in the middle of the clay-court season. (Update: no longer entered)
So far, Shapovalov (who turns 18 next week) is not entered in any of the many clay-court Challengers in Europe leading up to the French Open. But he still has 10 days to enter one of the three taking place the week before the French Open qualifying, the week right after that Challenger in Seoul.
His friend Félix Auger-Aliassime, with his ranking at No. 378, is in that Bermuda Triangle where he can probably get into the qualifying at SOME Challengers but isn’t a sure bet. But he plans to stay in Asia while; he is in the qualifying of a Challenger in Qingdao, on clay, the week of April 17. He also is entered in the hard-court events in Gimcheon (week of May 1), Seoul (May 8) and Busan (May 15), but probably won’t get into all of them.