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“It was kind of the start of my career, one of my first big matches; to play and to win against a legend like Rafa was incredible” - Denis Shapovalov on his 2017 Canadian Open defeat of Rafael Nadal

Denis Shapovalov beat Rafael Nadal in their first career meeting
Denis Shapovalov beat Rafael Nadal in their first career meeting
Anirudh

Denis Shapovalov grabbed everyone’s attention when he beat Rafael Nadal in the Round of 16 at the 2017 Canadian Open. The World No. 22 came from behind to win 3-6, 6-4, 7-6(4) in front of an electric center court crowd in Montreal.

In doing so, Shapovalov became the tournament’s youngest quarterfinalist and the second-youngest player to beat Nadal after Borna Coric in Basel in 2014.

Speaking to the official ATP website, the Canadian recalled his memories and emotions from that match.

“It’s definitely obviously very nice [when people mention the match]. It was kind of the start of my career, one of my first big matches. To play and to win against a legend like Rafa was incredible. I think it's nice because I feel like every time I come back here people have that memory and they tell me 'Oh I watched that match, I saw that match' and you kind of have a bond with the fans here and, hopefully, that could last with me for my whole career,” Shapovalov said.
Looking back to when Denis Shapovalov upset Rafael Nadal to reach the quarter-finals in Montreal in 2017! 🇨🇦#NittoATPFlashback | #sponsored https://t.co/wi0KTSS84E

He also spoke about how he has changed in the last five years, and the differences he has noticed in himself between then and now.

“Definitely pretty different in terms of just maturity, I think. Obviously I was just a kid back then. Seems like, at least to me, in a way, it's [the time] gone very very quickly. I don't believe that it's been five years. I think when you play on the tour tournament after tournaments and all of a sudden the years just go by really quick,” he said.
“On the other side, if I think about it, there's been so many experiences and so many moments that I could take with me now whereas opposed to then, where I didn't really have any experience or matches like that. So definitely much more mature and calm about situations. I think I've grown and learned a lot,” he added.

Rafael Nadal leads Denis Shapovalov 4-2 in head-to-head meetings

Internazionali BNL D'Italia 2022 - Day Five

Shapovalov and Nadal shake hands after a match

After the Canadian Open triumph, Denis Shapovalov and Rafael Nadal met again at the 2018 Rome Masters. The Spaniard made amends by comfortably winning their Round of 16 encounter 6-4, 6-1.

In their third career meeting at the Paris Masters the following year, Shapovalov advanced to the final after the World No. 3 withdrew before their semifinal clash citing an abdominal injury. Nadal then beat the Canadian in three successive matches - the 2019 Davis Cup Finals, the 2021 Rome Masters and the 2022 Australian Open.

Dos NextGen,🍁DENIS SHAPOVALOV foi o que apresentou o cartão de chegada + fulminante!Em 2017, aos 18 anos, fez semi em Montreal vencendo DELPO e NADAL e foi à R16 do Us Open passando o🚜em MEDVEDEV e TSONGA.Com um tênis explosivo e versátil, parecia surgir um grande campeão! https://t.co/MfcPYGpwe1

The 23-year-old snapped his four-match losing streak against the Spaniard at the Rome Masters this year, dethroning the defending champion with a 1-6, 7-5, 6-2 win to progress to the quarterfinals.


Edited by Nihal Taraporvala

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