Denis Shapovalov, Canadian golden child with over-cinched hats and a liberated style of play, was the breakout player of 2017 men’s tennis. If you were expecting him to fully “make the leap,” the year’s early returns might have left you cold. He lost in the first round at Brisbane to the big-hitting Kyle Edmund, and he lost in the second round at Auckland after running face-first into early-round nightmare Juan Martin del Potro. Shapo is still just 18, and has yet to cobble together a consistent season on tour. Maybe this will be his first. Even if not, the world No. 50 will continue to stuff the highlight reel in characteristic fashion.
In Monday’s first-round victory over Rogerio Dutra Silva, he managed to coax a passing shot into the service box while basically smushed up against the back wall. This is just a fiendish angle to pull off:
Then in his 6-2, 6-4 loss to Delpo today, he coolly bumped a serve right down the sideline, seemingly just as fast as it came in:
Even an unsuccessful Shapo is a good Shapo—he’s more fun in losses than 90 percent of the tour is in victory.