Shapovalov prepares for match vs. Alcaraz at Roland-Garros on TSN
Canada’s Denis Shapovalov is in uncharted territory at Roland-Garros, having advanced to the third round for the first time in his career.
Next up in Paris, the Richmond Hill, Ont., native will face off with world No. 1 Carlos Alcaraz on Friday, the first career matchup between the two.
“Definitely very happy. For sure it’s a tournament where I’ve struggled at so it’s great to get a couple of wins under my belt,” said Shapovalov following his win over Matteo Arnaldi on Wednesday. “Obviously I’ve got a big challenge ahead of me with Carlos and hopefully we can play some great tennis.”
Watch Shapovalov take on Alcaraz at Roland-Garros LIVE on Friday at 2:15 p.m. ET/ 11:15 a.m. PT on TSN, the TSN App, and TSN.ca.
The No. 32 ranked Shapovalov will be seeing Alcaraz at his best on Friday, as the 20-year-old holds a 22-2 record on clay this season, including his first two wins in this tournament. Alcaraz has won seven career titles on clay and his winning percentage on the “terre battue” (79.61 per cent) is his highest on any surface.
Shapovalov knows he will need to be aggressive early in the match and not allow Alcaraz to get comfortable.
“He can really do everything. I’m going to have to take the match to him and be aggressive. If I just let him play he’s going to get the better of me,” said Shapovalov. “I have to play my game as best as possible and take away his strengths a little bit.”
The 24-year-old Canadian had missed much of the clay season with a knee injury prior to his first-round win over Brandon Nakashima. However, Shapovalov said he has felt no ill-effects following his first two victories at Roland-Garros, which will allow him to fully prepare for the world’s top player.
‘It was a big relief the day after the five-set match to wake up with no pain. Today obviously as well was pain free so I was able to play and enjoy,” said Shapovalov. “Hopefully tomorrow is the same way. I’m hoping everything is good and I can prepare for the match against Carlos.”
Shapovalov entered Roland-Garros with a disappointing 7-9 record on the season but believes he is getting back on track at just the right time.
"Coming in I really didn't know what to expect. I was barely playing any tennis," Shapovalov said. "And here I am, making my best result at the French Open.
“It’s one of those matchups where I have nothing to lose. I’m happy to be here. I wasn’t expecting much with this tournament so I’m happy to get another match and I’m looking forward to playing.”