Shapovalov missing something mentally

McEnborg

Rookie
I’ve watched some of this guy’s matches. He can be very frustrating to root for.

For one, he gives away too many points with reckless and sloppy shot selection. He over hits when he doesn’t need to. He goes for low percentage winners too often early in the point.

He hasn’t learned to set up his strengths well enough, particularly his volley. Very talented player with great hands, but appears to need a higher level coach for tactical work. Needs to improve his focus as well. Denis is often a dumb player, just loosely donating points. His blowout loss to Albot yesterday was ridiculous...especially as a top seed!
 

topher

Professional
Isn’t that the story of so many players with great potential who never make it to the top? They have the shots and the weapons, but can’t hit them consistently and wisely enough.

If it was as simple to fix as hiring a coach to tell you to hit the right shots, I’m sure that magical coach would be in very high demand.
 

Fedinkum

Legend
He still plays the game like a junior. He needs the right coach for him
My exact thought. I wrote elsewhere that his game has not matured at all since he first burst onto the scene. If anything, he has double down on those flashy shot makings. You can’t string 5 or 7 matches consistently with his attitude and mentality.

His temper is also getting worst and worst by days. When he smashed that racket at match point, that was enough to turn me away as a fan. Unless he gets a proper coach to tame him, he is destined to be an other journeyman.
 

RiverRat

Semi-Pro
Will never be number 1 or consistent Slam contender.
Going out on a limb there aren't you :) ? Time will tell. I'm a big fan, but it's frustrating to see how he plays, what should be, routine matches. I think you're right about the consistent part. He seems to want to play the extraordinary point, each point. Ordinary is what leads to consistency.
 

RiverRat

Semi-Pro
Coach Youhzny is working on it. Give him some time. He’s got his PhD in sports psychology or something. Yes, I know he bloodied his own head with his racket, but still.
I'm not certain about how long they've been together, but I have seen pictures of them when Shapo was a wee-tot. Through this abbreviated season, he seems to have regressed. The temper yesterday was scary. Here's a guy who has already hurt someone, albeit unintentionally, with his anger. I just don't get it. He's working with a sports psychologist and a personal coach, and this happens. How hard is it to teach someone to reel their game in a bit and not go postal, no offense to postal workers.
 

Swingmaster

Professional
I'm not certain about how long they've been together, but I have seen pictures of them when Shapo was a wee-tot. Through this abbreviated season, he seems to have regressed. The temper yesterday was scary. Here's a guy who has already hurt someone, albeit unintentionally, with his anger. I just don't get it. He's working with a sports psychologist and a personal coach, and this happens. How hard is it to teach someone to reel their game in a bit and not go postal, no offense to postal workers.
As a coach, I think working on strategy is way easier than helping someone control their temper. Maybe his anger shows that he is trying to make the changes that have been suggested. It must be pretty frustrating to lose because youre working on something. That’s why I always end up slicing my backhands during matches. I don’t want to get pissed.
 

RiverRat

Semi-Pro
As a coach, I think working on strategy is way easier than helping someone control their temper. Maybe his anger shows that he is trying to make the changes that have been suggested. It must be pretty frustrating to lose because youre working on something. That’s why I always end up slicing my backhands during matches. I don’t want to get pissed.
I wish I could see what he's working on because his game appears to be getting more chaotic, not less.
 

Bumbaliceps

Semi-Pro
I wish I could see what he's working on because his game appears to be getting more chaotic, not less.
I really think it is purely in his head. He was showing better colours, and seemed to use his brains on the court. Youhzny may be perfectly fine. I think the problem is the astonishing ego of Denis. Probably wants to hit highlights-worthy shots all the time.

Just listen to him, it is scary :

 

RiverRat

Semi-Pro
I really think it is purely in his head. He was showing better colours, and seemed to use his brains on the court. Youhzny may be perfectly fine. I think the problem is the astonishing ego of Denis. Probably wants to hit highlights-worthy shots all the time.

Just listen to him, it is scary :

I think he may be a little caught up in his fame, coupled with his youth. I didn't get a sense of arrogance though. He likes music, but as he said, "it's nothing special." I do agree that he appears more interested in highlights than, in his own words, "grinding."
 

socallefty

Hall of Fame
The guy is a ball-basher with a huge takeback on groundstrokes. So, if someone takes time away from him during a rally, he sprays tons of errors. On top of it, he gets tight in close matches and his technique seems to break down further as he is not the most emotionally stable guy on tour to say the least. He looks like a young Thiem and he needs a coach to make his shots more compact in which case he will become more consistent and will be able to play better defense against top opponents. Thiem did this in 2019 once he hired Massu as his coach and the results are showing particularly on hard courts in addition to clay which was already his strength.

Right now, Shapo plays better on a slower surfaces because he has more time to take his big backswings and huge cuts at the ball. He needs to make his technique better to compete on faster surfaces and lower bounces.

On the other hand, for a rapper he plays pretty good tennis.
 
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TheNachoMan

Hall of Fame
I really think it is purely in his head. He was showing better colours, and seemed to use his brains on the court. Youhzny may be perfectly fine. I think the problem is the astonishing ego of Denis. Probably wants to hit highlights-worthy shots all the time.

Just listen to him, it is scary :

God, he’s so annoying. People say Zverev is arrogant but at least he has something to show for it
 

Bumbaliceps

Semi-Pro
I think he may be a little caught up in his fame, coupled with his youth. I didn't get a sense of arrogance though. He likes music, but as he said, "it's nothing special." I do agree that he appears more interested in highlights than, in his own words, "grinding."
I don't think he sees himself as a great rapper. My point was more about the idea that everybody screams his name and wants to be him. If you haven't already, I suggest you to listen his song ''Night Train", it is borderline disrespectful to the fans.
 

RiverRat

Semi-Pro
I don't think he sees himself as a great rapper. My point was more about the idea that everybody screams his name and wants to be him. If you haven't already, I suggest you to listen his song ''Night Train", it is borderline disrespectful to the fans.
I didn't hear him say, "wants to be him." People do scream his name. As for his rap, most rap is disrespectful. I guess we just have to respectfully disagree. I see a good kid with all of the talent in the world and a floundering game.
 
Sorry, I might be dumb or not good enough in English, or just tired, but I don't understand what you mean.
I mean people have also said that Medvedev is not mentally good enough and used that as an excuse for him winning nothing big from US Open up to Paris Masters. Infact did he even win anything at all in this period?
 

Bumbaliceps

Semi-Pro
I mean people have also said that Medvedev is not mentally good enough and used that as an excuse for him winning nothing big from US Open up to Paris Masters. Infact did he even win anything at all in this period?
He didn't. I think it is normal to not always be at your best. Still he went to a slam semi, then came directly to his worst surface on a different continent, and a few weeks later he showed his best face and won a masters. He is doing fine :p
 

BeatlesFan

Bionic Poster
It's not the end of the world, he still has time to develop. I agree he needs a new coach, but that is old news.
Youzhny's been his coach for awhile now and is a huge improvement over his mom, Tessa. She was a disaster. Denis needs a viable slice and a block ROS badly. No excuse he doesn't have both shots when he's 21.
 

Kiam

New User
I'm not certain about how long they've been together, but I have seen pictures of them when Shapo was a wee-tot. Through this abbreviated season, he seems to have regressed. The temper yesterday was scary. Here's a guy who has already hurt someone, albeit unintentionally, with his anger. I just don't get it. He's working with a sports psychologist and a personal coach, and this happens. How hard is it to teach someone to reel their game in a bit and not go postal, no offense to postal workers.
Just hit a slice backhand down the line once in a wile, Dennis, adn let the other guy beat make the big shot.
 

wangs78

Hall of Fame
In my view, the Youzhny-Shapo partnership is not working well. Youzhny was a player with no big weapons so needed to be patient in order to have a chance against the top players. That patient style won't work for Shapo bc he has the weapons and firepower. He needs a coach to teach him how to attack smartly, not be patient and wait for opportunities (which is what I think Youzhny is trying to teach him).
 

Zoid

Professional
What is happening to Shapo is not uncommon for anyone-dimensional player that bursts onto the scene: they come out with weapons or a style that can win them big matches, they get hot/confident, and have a good season. Then, once the tour has seen them enough and found their weaknesses, they all play the same way against said player until that player goes away and develops their game further to counter it. Time and again you see this; player comes on the scene -- has a great few months/a year -- goes away for a year or two -- comes back a better player.

Medvedev got hot during summer last year but by indoor season he got found out with his forehand, he went bigger against zverev with it last week and it paid off.

Djok serve went off in 2010 and he had a horrid year before that 2011 season and beyond.

Thiem swung too big on hard courts and didnt use slice enough/stood too deep all the time. Now with Massu he has shortened his forehand to be more compact and is reaping the rewards.

Zverev got hot and then confidence fell away on his forehand and serve. He's shortened the forehand a little and it's working well now with Ferrer.

FAA is having a rough trot - IMO he needs to play more patiently and learn to defend more effectively.

Shapo went hot 2-3 years ago with a big game but without maximum confidence that style of blast away won't work week in week out.

If I was to pick a player he should try and mold, it's probably wawrinka. Chip more returns in play, dig a little more and wait for the right part of the point to rip the groundstroke with venom. People forget how much Gonzalez chipped his backhand side and waited until the forehand presented itself.

I think the biggest difference between this gen and the big three is the return and defensive capablities. The young guys now all have great weapons, but their defence and ability to read the game is awful compared to the Big 4.
 

California

Semi-Pro
You can't win tennis matches until you learn first how not to lose them....

I think he is too aggressive and trys to play highlight reel tennis too often, he doesn't play smart. You don't have to win every point, your opponent can lose some of them.... he needs to learn when to press and go big and when to play percentage tennis.

His temper IMO is because of expectations, his own, and the press/fans. He now expects to win and when he doesn't, he freaks out. He is too stressed on court and isn't letting the game come to him. The pressure to perform is making him irritable and frustrated. He needs to lower his expectations and understand he has to win the matches he won't be gifted them

He is still young, I think he can turn it around. I think he needs a good coach, and needs to relax. Cut down on the errors and play to his strength. Let's see how it goes for him next season.
 

ChrisRF

Hall of Fame
You can't win tennis matches until you learn first how not to lose them....

I think he is too aggressive and trys to play highlight reel tennis too often, he doesn't play smart. You don't have to win every point, your opponent can lose some of them.... he needs to learn when to press and go big and when to play percentage tennis.
I fully agree. I think most top 100 players could have highlight shots like Shapovalov if they always risk that much. Now Shapovalov does take the risk, and then people say "If he makes less errors when he gets older he will win everything". But that’s not how it works, and the real conclusion is that he just isn’t THAT good (not even potentially) as some people think.
 

socallefty

Hall of Fame
Every loss in tennis is not because of mental weakness or issues. The guy’s technique is good enough to beat a lot of players, but not good enough to be at the very top of of the sport. He has no ability to play defense due to the time he needs to take huge cuts at the ball and he needs too much time to hit his shots if he is not in perfect position - so, he makes a ton of errors. Most people lose in tennis because of flaws in their technique and so does he. The mental strength or lack thereof is a secondary issue.

The Big 3 have almost flawless technique and Thiem is well on his way there too after he made his ground strokes more compact. That’s a big reason why they are at the top of the sport.
 

smalahove

Hall of Fame
You can't win tennis matches until you learn first how not to lose them....

I think he is too aggressive and trys to play highlight reel tennis too often, he doesn't play smart. You don't have to win every point, your opponent can lose some of them.... he needs to learn when to press and go big and when to play percentage tennis.

His temper IMO is because of expectations, his own, and the press/fans. He now expects to win and when he doesn't, he freaks out. He is too stressed on court and isn't letting the game come to him. The pressure to perform is making him irritable and frustrated. He needs to lower his expectations and understand he has to win the matches he won't be gifted them

He is still young, I think he can turn it around. I think he needs a good coach, and needs to relax. Cut down on the errors and play to his strength. Let's see how it goes for him next season.
Compare him to Humbert, who has a very similar technical style and is leftie, and you see exactly what you're describing. Whilst Humbert knows when to play clutch, it seems Shapo goes for the big shot too early. That being said, I do see improvements. But he needs to acknowledge that these improvements will not manifest themselves in winning points and matches before he manages to pass the break point (in his development curve).

Two things that might still be holding him back in the future:
  • His jangly, unbalanced rotation. Lefties have a tendency to do this, but he needs more control and balance though, similar to Humbert.
  • His clutch play has to improve.
 
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Maybe he should send his mother home and start being on his own in order to grow up. His mother displays that stuffed animal at his matches: https://dailyhive.com/vancouver/denis-shapovalov-wolf-us-open-2018

Wonder if his father was involved as he was growing up? A strong male figure would have helped his mentality.

Most likely Shapo will have a career like Dimitrov, spending all that time looking at himself on Instagram...
 
Maybe he should send his mother home and start being on his own in order to grow up. His mother displays that stuffed animal at his matches: https://dailyhive.com/vancouver/denis-shapovalov-wolf-us-open-2018

Wonder if his father was involved as he was growing up? A strong male figure would have helped his mentality.

Most likely Shapo will have a career like Dimitrov, spending all that time looking at himself on Instagram...
It will be very difficult for a player who is used to wild, uncontrolled tennis to tame himself. I am not sure he will succeed in this.
 

prairiegirl

Hall of Fame
I don't believe in making predictions. I have always said I would wait until he's 22 or 23 before coming to any firm opinion. Right now, he's still a very streaky player. Announcers mentioned a shoulder issue in his match two days ago. If that's true, he shouldn't be playing, because he will aggravate it. Could be many things that caused the problems in the last 3 matches, but I agree he needs to get that temper under control. That kind of anger can be someone's undoing in athletic competition. I hope he continues with the psychologist as it seems there are still quite a few issues to work out. The talent is there (I think), but he needs mental consistency.
 

BeatlesFan

Bionic Poster
Chip more returns in play....Gonzalez chipped his backhand side and waited until the forehand presented itself.
Besides Fernando, the only two players with great success the past 10-15 years playing a chip BH return are Fed and Stan. And Fed has consciously retooled his chip return to hit far more topspin returns. That tactic alone helped him win AO 2017.

Shapo desperately needs a chip return, but he needs patience, consistency and aggressive court positioning even more. His lack of a viable slice is also a big weakness.
 

Zoid

Professional
Besides Fernando, the only two players with great success the past 10-15 years playing a chip BH return are Fed and Stan. And Fed has consciously retooled his chip return to hit far more topspin returns. That tactic alone helped him win AO 2017.

Shapo desperately needs a chip return, but he needs patience, consistency and aggressive court positioning even more. His lack of a viable slice is also a big weakness.
Agree - as a one-hander, if you don't have a great slice you don't have a great backhand to be honest. It's the defensive side of that shot completely.
 
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