Denis Shapovalov recalls meeting his idol Roger Federer at Basel 2017, says the Swiss made it a point to welcome him to the city

Roger Federer
Roger Federer
Rudra Biswas

Denis Shapovalov recently gave his thoughts on a variety of topics, right from idolizing 20-time Major winner Roger Federer growing up, to the GOAT race between the Big 3.

Shapovalov is currently ranked 10 in the world, but is close to displacing his idol Federer as the new World No. 9 in the ATP rankings.

Speaking to Simon Graf from Tages Anzeiger, Shapovalov reminisced about the time he met Federer at the 2017 Swiss Indoors Open. The Canadian youngster said Federer made it a point to welcome him to the city.

"I remember coming to Basel one year in 2017 and I was really a nobody, just on the come up. Roger was in the car, ready to leave the site heading home to his family," Shapovalov said. "He gets out of the car, just to say hello to me, to talk to me 5 or 10 minutes, welcome me to his city."
"And just to see how everything's going, making sure I feel at home. That really stuck with me, because I feel like very, very few players would do that, especially a guy with very limited time like Roger, especially, getting home to have dinner with his family."

Shapovalov then alluded to the old expression "never meet your heroes", which means people you admire may disappoint you in real life by not living up to expectations. The Canadian, however, believes that's not the case with Roger Federer, as his opinion of the Swiss only grew after their meeting.

"There's a saying that you shouldn't be meeting your idols because then you'll think less of them. It’s actually the opposite with Roger," Shapovalov said.
Denis Shapovalov in 2017
Denis Shapovalov in 2017

"The way Roger Federer carries himself, the way he is as a person, there's no show with him" - Denis Shapovalov

Roger Federer has repeatedly defied Father Time, spending close to two decades at the top of the game. The Swiss' success on the court and his squeaky clean image off it have adhered him to fans all over the world.

In that regard, Shapovalov asserted that Federer comes off as a "genuine" person in whatever he does, which is one of the reasons why he remains the Canadian's role model even now.

"He has been a huge role model for me growing up and he's continued to be," Shapovalov said. "The way he carries himself, the way he is as a person, there's no show with him. It's all natural, all genuine. It's really inspiring, just great to have met him and see how he really is."

Shapovalov was also asked to give his opinion on the seemingly endless GOAT debate, which was reignited by Novak Djokovic's Wimbledon triumph earlier this month. Djokovic clinched his 20th Major title at the All England Club, moving level with Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal at the top of the Slam leaderboard.

When asked which member of the famed Big 3 he considered the GOAT, Shapovalov shied away from giving a definitive answer. The Canadian claimed that each member of the trio has a plausible claim to the moniker.

"It's impossible to name a GOAT. It's really personal to every person. One person might just look at the stats, another person might judge how much of a champion that player was, how he carried himself as a person or on the courts," Shapovalov said.
"The three of them, they’re all very unique in their own way. It's just a super fun generation to be a part of, and definitely, anything like this is never ever gonna happen again, in history. I think. It's just super fun to witness what all three of them are doing."
Edited by Arvind Sriram
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