On a fortnight replete with success for Canadian tennis players, Denis Shapovalov walked away from his own incredible Wimbledon campaign with the boys’ singles title following an exciting 4-6, 6-1, 6-3 victory over Alex De Minaur.
Canada has already won one #Wimbledon title today…
Denis Shapovalov is the 2016 boys' singles champion pic.twitter.com/ahCtWWi1Hg
— Wimbledon (@Wimbledon) July 10, 2016
Shapovalov’s title contributed to an increasingly impressive resume of Canadian success – both past and present – at Wimbledon. While Milos Raonic made history by becoming the first Canuck to reach a men’s singles Grand Slam final, Shapovalov joined compatriots Genie Bouchard and Filip Peliwo as the nation’s sole junior Slam champs.
The match started off on nervous footing, with both players making uncharacteristic errors. De Minaur, a young Australian who trains primarily on Spanish clay courts, pulled his game together quicker than Shapovalov.
In press, Shapovalov noted his tentative play. He credited a change in mentality – and working his way into longer points – for eventually getting ahold of the match.
“Yeah, I was very nervous, to be honest. Started off making a lot of errors in the first couple of games.
After I got broken the second time, just told myself to calm down a little bit.”
The two exchanged several breaks in the first set, as the Canadian eventually fell behind 1-3 following a slew of tight errors – and he wasn’t too pleased with his play.
Neither player had been allowed to warm up on the court prior to the match, and the final marked first time either had played in a stadium with a capacity and prestige as great as Wimbledon’s Court 1. But as the match wore on, De Minaur appeared to be the better settled of the two 17-year-olds playing for the biggest title of their junior career – and he won the first set 6-4.
Shapovalov has demonstrated a particularly impressive pedigree on grass courts this season, winning the grass court warm-up event in Roehamption and reaching the final of Wimbledon with the loss of only a single set. The difference in prowess began to show in the second set.
The Richmond Hill native came up with some excellent shot-making, particularly off his unorthodox one-handed backhand wing, and levelled the match at a set apiece.
From there, Shapovalov didn’t look back. As he began to hit his stride on both serves and groundstrokes, his opponent’s forehand began to break down. Despite moving well from the back of the court, the Aussie was overwhelmed by Shapovalov’s big serving and impressive play at the net. (Remind you of anyone?)
On a De Minaur double fault, Shapovalov became the third different Canadian to win the junior Wimbledon crown.
— Tennis Canada (@TennisCanada) July 10, 2016
The win, in combination with reaching the doubles final with fellow Canuck Félix Auger Aliassime, has propelled him up to No.2 in the junior rankings – but he is now setting his sights to his pro ranking, which stands at No. 374.
The future of Canadian tennis just got even brighter.