INDIAN WELLS, Calif. – Everyone seems to have an opinion on the state of Denis Shapovalov’s career these days.
Most of those opinions, of course, are mean-spirited, destructive rather than constructive in intent. It’s not as though the 23-year-old Canadian doesn’t KNOW he’s going through a rough patch in his career.
To that end, Open Court had gotten wind that Greg Rusedski, the Canadian-turned-Brit who reached No. 4 in the world, might be in the mix to come in as a consultant – an extra pair of eyes to see if he can help his fellow lefty turn it around.
We don’t know if that will happen. But we spotted Shapovalov, coach Peter Polansky and Rusedski, who is primarily a television analyst these days but does have extensive coaching experience at the grassroots level, deep in discussion Tuesday afternoon.
Did we mention Rusedski is a lefty? That’s certainly a point of commonality (and, of course, he was a Canadian long before he was a Brit – and one who definitely went his own way on a parallel track to Tennis Canada).
And in the “consulting coach” vernacular that dictates such a addition has to “have been there at the highest level”, he certainly qualifies.
Since mother Tessa stopped being his “main” coach, Shapovalov has experimented with a few different people around him, trying to find the right fit and the right balance between supportive and stern.
He’s opted to stay in a bit of a comfort bubble. At the same time, he’s a player so gifted that it’s a bit of a double-edged sword. When everything is firing he can beat anyone in the world. When it’s not, he can lose to a lot of players. And he has, lately. And blown quite a few leads.
Clearly, at this point, the losses are snowballing a little bit. So it’s good to at least explore a different voice.
At the same time, it’s not, as many posit, a matter of finding an “experienced coach” to “straighten him out”. Tell him what? To make more balls, get the ball in the court more often?
Everyone on social media can, and does, tell him that. For free. (He probably already knows this).
By the end of his opening loss to Ugo Humbert earlier this week in the desert, Shapovalov had (politely) asked his team to leave the box. He had announced his impending retirement (likely he wasn’t serious), crushed a racquet and brought all the drama.
He still, however, is in the doubles here in the desert with Félix Auger-Aliassime.
Let’s see what the next chapter brings.
5 thoughts on “Exclusive: Rusedski to join Team Shapovalov?”
Thanks for the article, Steph! Good to know.
I agree, it’s not helpful to spout off – everyone’s an armchair analyst.
I hope you’re enjoying IW, and that the weather is decent.
No time to enjoy it. Weather is … so-so. But better than home!
keep trolling and look for those little birdies ….
David Law was more or less trashing Peter Polansky on the Podcast the other day. I don’t think he knew much about Peter. I would not be so quick to dump Peter, but another set of eyes might be a boost, maybe from a psychological point of view. Good bit of digging, Steph. Your article showed up on facebook.
I could care less what he thinks, tbh. But I don’t listen to that podcast (or any podcast, really).
The narrative that Shapovalov needs a “real, experienced coach” is such b.s. in my opinion.
Of course, the fact that it’s an easy narrative means a lot of people spout it.
Coaches get too much credit and too much blame.
High-talent guys like Shapovalov simply will not thrive or respond to what people “think” he needs.
Yeah, a little birdie told me it might be in the works, and then I saw them all having a pow-wow today. Which confirmed it.
That’s why I troll the grounds all day.