INDIAN WELLS, Calif. – Right around this time of the year, especially, young Canadian Denis Shapovalov’s thoughts turn to his friend Bruno Agostinelli.
And when he (finally) successfully opened his singles quest at the BNP Paribas Open late Sunday afternoon, he pointed up to the sky in remembrance after the victory.
Agostinelli, who would have turned 32 next month, tragically died during the Indian Wells event three years ago
On March 9, 2016, the then 28-year-old, who had become a father just two weeks before, lost control of his motorcycle and died, in Toronto.
Agostinelli had been a Davis Cup hero when given a brief moment to shine down in the wilds of the American zonals in South America.
He had been a college player and a captain of his team at the University of Kentucky. And when he went into coaching at a young age, he was an influence on many young players.
One of those was Shapovalov.
— Denis Shapovalov (@denis_shapo) March 11, 2019
We didn’t notice it at the time, but it appears Shapovalov offered up the same tribute Saturday – the exact anniversary of Agostinelli’s death – after he and Rohan Bopanna won their first-round doubles match. It was a pretty big upset, over No. 2 seeds Jamie Murray and Bruno Soares.
Here’s what Shapovalov said about it, following his 6-3, 6-4 win over Steve Johnson Wednesday.
(Shapovalov was accommodating enough to come into press between his singles and his doubles match against Novak Djokovic and Fabio Fognini later in the evening. That one didn’t go as well, with Shapovalov and Rohan Bopanna going down 10-8 in the match tiebreak).