Denis Shapovalov: The separation of the person from the athlete | ATP Tour
The talented Canadian Denis Shapovalov got off to a cautious start in his 2023 season. The left-hander has a 6-6 record in his third-round match at the Itau-presented Miami Open and has not won a straight game since the Australian Open.
But while the 23-year-old has battled adversity, he has kept the big picture in mind.
“I think at the end of the day, firstly, when things aren’t going well, it can get a lot worse. I’m lucky to be in the position I am and I’m trying to be the best,” Shapovalov told ATPTour.com. “But it’s just a sport. It’s just a game. Of course I want to get better and sometimes I get frustrated on the pitch. But I think I’m doing a good job just not broadcasting it because we’re very lucky. i live a good life
“I think in general it’s different being a person. You’re an athlete, but at the end of the day you’re a human being, so I always try to treat people the way I’d like to be treated myself. I think that is also due to my upbringing.”
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According to Shapovalov, “Life in general was pretty great.” Despite losing five of his last seven games, he has kept an eye on things.
“I think a big part of that is obviously Mirjam [Bjorklund], my girlfriend. First of all, we’ve just been able to spend a lot more time together and do fun things,” Shapovalov said. “I feel like wherever we are we’re always thinking of fun things to do, things to see and restaurants and things like that to visit. I just feel like life is super fun.
“I really enjoy being by her side. I think she is an amazing person and she makes me very happy. You can’t ask for much more.”
In Miami, Shapovalov happily supported Bjorklund from the stands as she qualified for the prestigious tournament and advanced to the second round of the peloton. Away from the pitch, you wouldn’t know that the Canadian didn’t have the best start to the season.
“It’s always about manners, it’s honestly about always treating people the way I would like to be treated,” Shapovalov said. “It doesn’t matter if you’re the best player in the world or the worst player in the world. It’s different than being a person, I think.”
Not everything is bad on the pitch either. The Canadian has achieved a lot in tennis.
Shapovalov has cracked the top 10 of the Pepperstone ATP rankings, won more than $10 million in prize money and earned thousands if not millions of fans around the world with his dynamic, aggressive play.
The 2019 Miami semifinalist knows that if his game clicks, he’ll once again be able to challenge the best players on the ATP Tour.
“One hundred percent. I think that’s always been my game. I’ll have ups and downs and that’s what happens when you’re an aggressive player,” said Shapovalov sticking to my game and knowing that I’m going to have some good runs and some bad runs.”
Shapovalov hopes Miami is the start of a good run. The left-hander will play American Taylor Fritz in the third round.