Denis Shapovalov in jovial mood after a big win against Wimbledon champ Novak Djokovic

Kevin Palmer
Denis Shapovalov delighted

Denis Shapovalov joked he will ask for ranking points to be awarded for The Boodles exhibition event after he beat world No 1 Novak Djokovic in impressive fashion on Wednesday.

Big-hitting Canadian Shapovalov was in sparkling form as he beat the Wimbledon champion 7-6, 6-3 on an immaculate grass court at Stoke Park, as he sarcastically suggested he would like to be awarded ATP points in an event that also saw him beat Italy’s Fabio Fognini on Tuesday.

“I’m going to speak to the tournament and hopefully they’re going to give me a few ATP points for these two wins,” 20-year-old Shapovalov joked after the win. “I’m enjoying my time, it’s been two great matches and it’s honestly an honour to be out on court with a champion like Novak.

“It’s extremely tough against Novak. He comes out with almost any shot. He can hit anything, practically and he doesn’t give you much. So it’s really challenging when you come out against him and you have to play your ‘A’ game. You have to go for your shots, and that’s pretty much what I did to get this win.”

Shapovalov went on to predict the era of dominance for Djokovic, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal will come to an end soon, even though he admits it will take a superhuman effort for one of the game’s rising stars to beat the three icons of the modern game in the same Grand Slam tournament.

“It’s a tough generation to make a breakthrough in our sport right now,” world No 27 Shapovalov told us. “Once you go out on the court against these guys, you know how good they are and you also know that they have been in this position a whole lot more than you have. That is a factor if a match gets tight, but we have to be good enough to overcome that.

“That experience factor can get into your head, there is no doubt about that, but a guy like Stefanos Tsitsipas showed what is possible for the next generations when he beat Roger at the Australian Open earlier this year. We all know it is not easy to beat these guys, but we know it’s possible.

“These legends of the game just don’t want to leave! We are just waiting or either those guys to finish or we step up a bit, but we are all so young still and it will take time for us to develop and we can start beating them.

“Back in the day, the older guys were ending their careers a lot earlier, but now they are sticking around and it is tough for us to get past them. They have a lot of experience, they are still healthy and able to compete with his and there is so much competition out there right now.

“We have a lot of young guys coming up that are really fired up and motivated and then at the same time, the old guys are still winning. Us guys trying to make the breakthrough just need a little more experience and then we can start to win the big events and I feel we are closer than ever now.”

Shapovalov has been playing at The Boodles tennis event at Stoke Park – https://www.theboodles.com

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