A new wave of tennis love is washing over Canada, since last night, when 18-year-old Denis Shapovalov beat Rafal Nadal at the Rogers Cup. The Canadian teen kept the Spanish legend from becoming #1 in the world. And he’s the youngest player to advance to the final since Bjorn Borg in 1974.
After the winning forehand shot against one of his tennis heros, Denis Shapovalov fell to the ground and kissed it.
“My dream came true today.”
Wayne Gretzky was cheering him on from the stands. So was his mother, Tessa Shapovalova, who played on the national team for the former Soviet Union.
The family moved to the Toronto area shortly after Denis was born and they opened this tennis school to support him. They used video showing 8-year-old Denis’s natural talent and enthusiasm to win sponsors and eventually he grew beyond his mother’s coaching ability.
Last year, at 17, he won the Wimbledon junior championship.
Sports writers started to wonder if he was the next big thing.
Then earlier this year in Ottawa he received a different sort of attention. Shapovalov threw a ball in a fit of anger and injured an umpire. He paid a $7000 fine, and was later praised for his humble apology.
Today, coaches at the school were directed not to talk to reporters; they expect the Shapovalov’s to return from Montreal Monday.