New York - Denis Shapovalov's magical run at the US Open
ended on Sunday, but the engaging Canadian teenager with the unruly blonde hair
and back-to-front black baseball cap vowed to return to New York and
"cause some damage."
Shapovalov, 18, was attempting to become the youngest player
to reach the quarter-finals at the US Open since Andre Agassi in 1988.
However, the qualifier's dream was ended by wily Spanish
12th seed Pablo Carreno Busta, eight years his senior, in three tiebreak sets,
7-6, (7/2), 7-6 (7/4), 7-6 (7/3).
As he left the cavernous Arthur Ashe Stadium, Shapovalov
turned, put down his bags and saluted the crowd who stood to applaud the
Canadian and his free-flowing style.
"My favourite memory was today, the sound, the roar of
the crowd when I went to applaud them," he said.
"They were all screaming. It was so loud, and it was a
great moment for me. It really has a special place in my heart, and, you know,
now New York for sure, it will always have a special place for me.
"Hopefully I can come back here for many more years and
just try to do some damage."
On Sunday, most of the damage being done was self-inflicted
as the Israel-born Shapovalov unleashed 54 winners but committed 55 unforced
errors, most on the key points.
He only converted three of 13 break points to illustrate
that there is still some heavy polishing to be applied to the sport's latest
Despite his disappointment, the summer of 2017 was a
He started the hard-court season ranked at 161 but came into
the US Open qualifiers at 69, a dramatic rise fuelled by a run to the Montreal
Masters semi-finals where he knocked out Rafael Nadal on the way.
In New York, he accounted for French eighth seed Jo-Wilfried
Tsonga in the second round and will leave the city with his ranking on the cusp
of the top 50.
"The biggest lesson is that I'm able to compete with
these guys but I still think I have a lot of work to do and a lot of things to
learn," he added.
Shapovalov, whose distinctive reverse baseball cap look even
spurned the term "the Shapo" on social media, leaves New York with
just one regret - that his parents were unable to see him play on the sport's
His mother Tessa, who played in the Soviet Union before the
family moved to Tel Aviv and then to Canada, coaches at their family-owned
academy to the north of Toronto.
Father Viktor manages the operation.
"Unfortunately, they couldn't come. My mom said she
would try to come if I had won today for my next match," he said.
"It was just too tough with the kids and she didn't
want to feel like she was betraying her students, which I completely
Carreno Busta, who also made the French Open quarter-finals
this year, goes on to face either France's Lucas Pouille or Diego Schwartzman
of Argentina for a semi-place.
The 26-year-old had warm words for Shapovalov, although he
admits he had never heard of the 2016 Wimbledon junior champion until his
"He's on fire. He's playing with a lot of confidence
and he's very young, so in the future, he will be one of the best," he