Latest 1 Nov 2017

Tennis superstar Shapovalov coming to the ASB Classic

by Julia Atkinson
Tennis superstar Shapovalov coming to the ASB Classic

The ASB Classic can confirm they’ve secured one of the most sought-after signatures in Men’s tennis, teen sensation Denis Shapovalov.

The 18-year old Canadian is coming off the summer of his life, beating world number 1 Rafael Nadal and Juan Martin del Potro to reach the semi-final of the Montreal Masters in August. Shapovalov’s incredible run in Canada made him the youngest Master’s series quarter and semi-finalist in tennis history eclipsing the likes of Nadal, Federer and Djokovic. The talented teen then went on to become the youngest player in almost 20 years to advance to the round of 16 at the US Open beating 8th seed Jo-Wilford Tsonga.

It’s clear, Shapovalov has caught the world by storm, last year competing against boys playing in the junior Gland Slams, now he’s beating men and shooting up the ATP rankings. The young Canadian started the year at 250, with the goal of jumping 100 spots to finish the year at 150. The wonder kid has blown that out of the water having this week broken into the world’s top 50 with two more ATP tournaments up his sleeve.

Shapovalov’s incredible year could get even better when he competes this month in Milan at the inaugural Next Gen ATP Finals, a tournament for the top 8 ranked under 21-year-old players on the ATP tour. 

Tournament Director Karl Budge is thrilled to have Shapovalov confirmed.  “This is the signing we have wanted all year.  There is no question he is the future of Men’s tennis and what he’s achieved this year has been staggering”.

“Every year we are asked can we get Federer or Nadal here.  We’ve had them both.  This is your opportunity to see this kid who is the hottest property in tennis right now.  You don’t want to miss your chance” he continued.  

It’s not only the ASB Classic who thinks he has a bright future.  Former world number one and tennis legend Pete Sampras believes he will become a top two player whilst seven-time Grand Slam Champion Mats Wilander compared him to two of the games greats.

“He is a serious talent. To be 100 percent honest, you cannot compare Shapovalov to any other youngster. He is a completely different level.  It’s like watching a combination of [Rafael] Nadal and [Roger] Federer at 18 years old. He has the fire of Nadal and the speed around the court of Nadal and he has the grace of Federer. It’s unbelievable.”

ATP Tour commentator Robbie Koenig, a regular in Auckland has huge wraps on the 18-year-old.  "He is a Shot-maker of note with one of the liveliest arm's on tour.   His forehand is a wrecking ball and the fact he is a lefty, with a single-handed backhand, well that just adds to his flamboyancy.

At just 18yrs of age he has become the youngest player to crack the Top 50 since Nadal did it 2004. There's a lot of similarities early on, big forehands, he's got a great fighting spirit and plays with energy and passion, and of course that "leftyness" that causes so many problems for opponents.  It's still early days, but the future looks bright for Denis, blindingly bright".

The ASB Classic has a proud history of unearthing the next wave of tennis stars with the likes of Nadal, Federer, Murray and Wozniacki all playing in the tournament early in their careers.  Jelena Ostapenko first made her name in Auckland before winning Roland Garros this year and Sloane Stephens lifted the ASB Classic trophy two years prior to her US Open triumph in September.  Shapovalov may just be the most talented of them all.

The ASB Classic will span for two weeks; the women's tournament kicking off on January 1st to 6th followed by the men’s tournament from January 8th to 13th. Tickets will be available for purchase through Ticketek. You can purchase tickets either online, over the phone on (0800 842 538) or in person at one of the agencies listed on the event website.

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