June 12, 2024

Open Court


Finally, “Shauger” is back and in the big time

TORONTO – Remember those two Canadian kids who won the US Open junior doubles in 2015, and reached the Wimbledon junior doubles final together the following year?

Whatever happened to them?

Well, sometime on Monday afternoon (weather permitting), Félix Auger-Aliassime and Denis Shapovalov will team up at the Rogers Cup.

“Shauger”, as some people called the duo during their junior days, is (are) back.

And the “luck” of the draw meant that they drew a couple of Wimbledon finalists as their first opponents: Novak Djokovic and Kevin Anderson.

Here’s what they looked like during a 50-minute warmup session around lunch time on Monday.

If the practice was a clue, Auger-Aliassime will play the ad side (leaving their two forehands up the middle). Shapovalov practiced a ton of drop volleys.

Blast from the past

The two played in Toronto together two years ago, a wild card into the Rogers Cup event when Auger-Aliassime was still 15 and Shapovalov was 17. They lost in the first round, 6-3, 6-4 to Viktor Troicki and Bernard Tomic.

Beyond that, they teamed up for a couple of small Canadian events that summer, again in the winter of 2017. But it has been a year and a half since they played together. Shapovalov’s rise a year ago in the wake of his effort at this tournament in Montreal was meteoric.

And his current status means he is playing only the biggest tournaments.

Auger-Aliassime has gotten his feet wet at the ATP Tour level this year. But he has played a lot of Challenger-level events. He turns 18 on Wednesday.

Here’s what “Shauger” looked nearly three years ago, when they won that doubles title at the US Open.

About Post Author