Denis Shapovalov vows ‘some damage’ at next US Open

“Hopefully I can come back here for many more years and just try to do some damage,” the 18-year-old says after defeat on Sunday to Pablo Carreno Busta.

Denis Shapovalov salutes the crowd after his defeat.   -  AP

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 quarterfinals 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."

55 unforced errors

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 rough diamond. Despite his disappointment, the summer of 2017 was a breakthrough season.

He started the hardcourt season ranked at 161 but came into the US Open qualifiers at 69, a dramatic rise fuelled by a run to the Montreal Masters semifinals 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.

‘Shapo’

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 biggest arena. 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 understand."

Carreno Busta, who also made the French Open quarterfinals 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 Montreal breakthrough. "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 said.