Fuorivia in, Steckley out on Team Shapo

What is old is now new again for Denis Shapovalov.

Just as he reached his career high and broke into the top 20 after his semifinal effort at the Miami effort โ€“ along comes a coaching change.

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Rob Steckley, who joined Team Shapo after last year’s Davis Cup, confirmed to Tennis.Life that the two have ended their association.

Meanwhile, with the clay season about to begin for the Canadian, Steckley’s successor is already on board.

And it’s a familiar face for Shapovalov: Adriano Fuorivia.

Fuorivia was Shapovalov’s coach during his key years in the juniors, through his early steps on the pro tour in 2016.

The two are already working together on the clay in Monte Carlo.

(Note: we were notified by the author this morning that her post appeared prior to the publication of this article. We’re happy to link to it here).

Steckley switch from WTA successful

When Steckley, a 39-year-old fellow Canadian, came on board, it was definitely an out-of-the-box choice. Not because he wasn’t a quality coach, but because he had made his name on the WTA Tour, notably with Lucie Safarova.

He began on last season’s fall Asian swing, with Shapovalov’s mother and coach Tessa also on hand. And continued through the off-season to begin 2019.

Rob Steckley on coaching trial with Shapovalov

Just two weeks ago, the 19-year-old had an outstanding Miami Open as he beat talented young guns Stefanos Tsitsipas and Frances Tiafoe, among others, to reach the semifinals.

He was a little overwhelmed there by the maestro, Roger Federer. But when it was over, Shapovalov had made his long-awaited top-20 debut.

Communication, creativity keys to Shapo-Steckley association

And then, once the Sunshine Double was over. Steckley was out.

coaching change
You could say that Steckley and Shapovalov parted on top, with the 19-year-old having just broken into the top 20 in the ATP Tour rankings. (Stephanie Myles/Tennis.Life)

Steckley told Tennis.Life they parted on good terms. “It was a great stretch of progress and results. Iโ€™m happy with things,” he said.

Fuorivia there at the start

Fuorivia, who was a manager of tennis development for Tennis Canada for 10 years before leaving to work full-time with the promising Shapovalov, was there for the key development years.

He coached Shapovalov to the junior title at Wimbledon, accompanied him during those months slogging on the Florida ITF clay-court circuit qualifying, right through his ATP Tour debut at the Citi Open in Washington, D.C. in 2016.

coaching change
It looks like this Fantastic Four (seen here at the US Open juniors in 2015 when Shapovalov and Auger-Aliassime won the boys’ doubles), will be reunited on the dirt. (Stephanie Myles/Tennis.Life)

The coach has since returned to work with Tennis Canada. He was the captain of the junior Davis Cup team last fall.

Fuorivia brought some of the kids down to IMG Academy in Florida during the offseason, where he also reunited with Shapovalov.

While fans tend to group the three rising young Canadians โ€“ Bianca Andreescu, Fรฉlix Auger-Aliassime and Shapovalov โ€“ together, as the fruit of Tennis Canada’s approach to developing players, Shapovalov was not part of that.

He did it on his own, with financing from benefactor Andrzej Kepinski. (Kepinski also was Shapovalov’s manager, until recently).

Shapovalov did it on his own

And now, Fuorivia is back.

The Denis Shapovalov archives

(Apologies for the original lead photo – since replaced โ€“ which I thought was mine but, in fact, was taken by Tom Tebbutt of Tennis Canada).

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