15 wins & 14 defeats, the ‘hit and hope’ approach isn’t working for Denis Shapovalov!

Denis’ season has potential to fizzle out. You could argue it hasn’t even ignited bar a semifinal appearance at Indian Wells.

Denis himself said he was exhausted at the back end of last year. The Canadian who recently turned 20 took part in 29 tournaments last year ending up pulling out of the Next Gen finals due to exhaustion.

The season has been rough for Denis who in my opinion looks a bit lost.

He was getting through his service games quick against Struff in Stuttgart but when it came to the big moments it was messy.

He served well by the return game isn’t there at all. He made 0/5 break points against Struff and has a low season return games won at 19%.

It’s all a bit hit and hope.

We know he has such a strong selection of shots and being ambidextrous is pretty unknown on the tour but I’m not feeling it right now.

I watched him at 5-5 on serve against Struff just lash the ball. He couldn’t deal with the depth of the German and hit error upon error as he was broken.

I don’t really understand where Denis is trying to play on the court.

Screenshot 2019-06-12 at 10.45.08

As you can see I have split the baseline into three. Yellow is people behind the baseline, pink is players who sit on and behind the baseline and the blue is that of a player who likes to stand in and take it on.

Denis in that match against Struff played everywhere but without any plan. What suits him best and what does he want to be? Defensive baseline, baseline or an attacking player?

Despite that win against Rafa in 2017, semi’s in Madrid last year and semi’s at Indian Wells this year it hasn’t happened.

Denis is ranked at 25 in the world at the moment with also a career high of 20 he reached earlier on in the year but his top 30 win/loss record since the beginning of last year is 10 wins and 14 defeats.

He’s got there but hasn’t done anything on a consistent basis. I know he’s only recently turned 20 but his lack of results have backed up questions about the game.

When I said, where does he want to play? It is genuine because no matter where he stands its the same game.

He has the one-handed backhand, forehand and the two hander. It is all there. Have a look at a piece I wrote before;

Denis Shapovalov – Intensity, Being Ambidextrous & Flair

Is he playing with the intensity and flair we know he can?

But flair will only get you so far, game needs substance. You need to be able to win when you aren’t playing well.

Denis is a baseliner, I don’t think a defensive baseline suits him and we saw him become stuck against Struff which is why he needs to bring things together on the baseline.

His attacking game is there, he can come to the net and has great net skills but he needs to give himself time. It doesn’t have to be 100mph all the time and a sliced backhand implemented will help him in rallies and will help him be more aggressive.

Where next?

Another early exit this time in Stuttgart and next up for Denis is a trip to London for Queens Club.

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