With Denis Shapovalov’s impressive victory over Rafael Nadal Thursday night in Montreal, a lot of people are discovering him for the first time.
Luckily, I’ve been following him for a few years now, and accumulated a lot of photos and video.
The odyssey began, on the high-profile side, at the 2015 Australian Open when Shapovalov was just 15. He had to qualify for the junior boys singles main draw, which he did routinely.
Already, the wild, flashy strokes had people stopping to watch.
Consider this your reference post for all things Shapovalov.
To start with, here’s a piece written for Yahoo about Shapovalov’s “indie” road to the pros.
First junior Slam
Just 15, there were already agents buzzing around the kid at the 2015 Australian Open.
A lot of people were saying he was the most talented 15-year-old in the entire world.
He won two matches in qualifying, defeated Hubert Hurkacz of Poland 9-7 in the third set in the first round of the main draw, and lost 6-1, 6-1 to Aussie Marc Polmans in the second round.
That fall, he qualified for the US Open juniors.
He and Felix Auger-Aliassime, who had just turned 15, won the boys’ doubles title.
Great Canadian junior effort in Paris
The next year, he fell to Geoffrey Blancaneaux in the semifinals of the boys’ singles at the French Open, after having a lead. (Blancaneaux beat Félix Auger-Aliassime in the final).
Nearly the Wimbledon junior double
He and Auger-Aliassime made the boys’ doubles final at Wimbledon in 2016.
And he won the boys’ singles title.
A few weeks later, he made his ATP Tour debut at the Citi Open in D.C.
He gave the veteran Lukas Lacko a tussle, but ended up on the losing end.
Here he is talking about it afterwards.
A week later, he defeated Nick Kyrgios at the Rogers Cup in Toronto.
Back to the basics
Last winter, he played the Futures event in Gatineau, just a few miles away from where the incident in Davis Cup occurred, and just a few weeks later.
He won that event.
Shapovalov made it into his first Grand Slam qualifying – grownup version – this spring at the French Open.
After a carb-loaded start (un bagel), he gave Marius Copil a fight, but played a rather undisciplined match overall and went down in three sets.
At Wimbledon, as the defending junior champion and because his ranking was high enough that they’d consider it, he was awarded a wild card into the main draw.
But a resurgent Jerzy Janowicz had a little too much.