BRADENTON, Fla. – Canadians Denis Shapovalov and Félix Auger-Aliassime have not yet practiced together at the IMG Academy.
That will happen this week.
In the meantime, there’s no shortage of practice partners on campus.
Last Saturday another Canadian, Brayden Schnur, trained with top-10 player Kei Nishikori of Japan.
That same day, Shapovalov hit with young Swedish player Mikael Ymer.
Ymer, about six months older than Shapovalov, is at a career high No. 277 as he preps for 2019. Last year at this time, older brother Elias also was at IMG. But this year, he’s flying brotherless.
Frederik Nielsen is coaching him.
Shapovalov had the tag-team coaching duo of Rob Steckley and mother Tessa in the house. Mom was pretty much in the background, offering the occasional tip but leaving it to Steckley to keep an eye on every strike of the ball.
Upper-body work this offseason
The most noticeable thing about Shapovalov is that he’s clearly spent a ton of time in the gym this off-season. It shows in the upper body, no doubt.
He laughed and said he was “pretty tired” when Tennis.Life caught up with him between practice sessions.
Here’s what he looked like hitting with Ymer.
And some photos.
Shapovalov will be returning to Toronto for a few days before heading to the other side of the planet for his only tuneup event before the Australian Open.
That will be the second week of the Australian Open series – the week of Jan. 7 in Auckland, NZ.