July 11, 2024

Open Court


Will No. 8 be the charm for Denis Shapovalov vs Novak Djokovic?

ADELAIDE, Australia – On the plus side for Canadian Denis Shapovalov, he has twice taken a set from Novak Djokovic.

And both times came in Australia.

So there’s hope, as he squares off with the Serbian star Friday night at the Adelaide International (yes, eastern Canada fans, that’s about 5 a.m. your time so set the alarms).

Shapovalov took Djokovic to a third-set tiebreak in the ATP Cup back in 2020 (the quarantine year).

And at Wimbledon in 2021, he lost in straight sets. But they were tight sets, and he had his chances.

Here he is talking to Open Court about what it takes to beat Djokovic. And about whether legends are born, or made.

(Clue: made)

Routine vs Safiullin to reach Djoko

Shapovalov had a bit of a rocky start against Rinky Hijikata in the first round. He was adjusting to the conditions, and it was at the time of day when the sun is lower and peeks under the canopy and makes it pretty challenging.

He righted the ship against Roman Safiullin, a Russian qualifier who gave him all kind of trouble at the ATP Cup a year ago.

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It was the start he wanted for the 2023 season. And he discussed a lot of things with Open Court earlier the week – including the agent merry-go-round of 2022, and what his plans are for doubles this season.

Djokovic holds a 7-0 head-to-head against Shapovalov, with just two sets lost.

After leaving IMG upon expiration of his contract in the middle of last summer, the 23-year-old went to Starwing and Lawrence Francophan.

It really just wasn’t a fit, Shapovalov said. And after a number of discussions with his previous agent at IMG, Max Eisenbud, they got the band back together as of Jan. 1.

Here’s part of that conversation.

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