Shapovalov Wimbledon 2021

Denis Shapovalov ‘not willing to do what it takes,’ says former coach

Mikhail Youzhny has told Denis Shapovalov that he is not committed enough to become a genuine force in tennis.

Youzhny coach the Canadian for two years between 2019 and 2020, and at that point in his career Shapovalov looked like one of the top young players on the ATP Tour and one primed to make a breakthrough.

However, his career has stalled since, and while he is still capable of beating top players on his day, Youzhny says his problem is more about his attitude than his tennis.

“I felt like I can’t bring him the change he needed,” Youzhny told Tennis Majors. “He is listening, but he is not fully doing what he needs to do in order to be a top player.

“Two or three years ago, he was one of the guys who could consistently be in the top ten, but for that to happen, he needed to change a few things outside tennis.

“He must be healthy 100%, first and foremost, and physically better. Main thing, he has to try to put tennis as his priority.

“It is his priority for most of the time, but in my opinion, he made some wrong decisions where he didn’t make tennis as the priority.”

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Denis Shapovalov rankings decline

Things move fast in tennis and if you stand still, you always end up going backwards. That is what has happened to Danis Shapovalov in the last couple of years.

In the Covid-hit 2020 season, Shapovalov was making a serious impression. His left-handed high-intensity game was winning him matches and getting him noticed.

At the 2020 US Open he played some especially scintillating tennis, going to the quarter-finals before losing an epic five-setter against Pablo Carreno Busta.

That did help him break into the top ten though, and he was expected to kick on in 2021. It never happened, though.

Shapovalov hung around the top 20 for two years, despite reaching the semi-finals of Wimbledon in 2021.

Last season was incredibly poor for him, though. He suffered a knee injury at Wimbledon, missed the US and Asia swings of the Tour, and finished the season ranked outside the top 100 in the world.

READ NEXT: Denis Shapovalov angrily hits back at ex-coach over attitude accusations

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Michael Graham, Editor, has been a professional sports journalist for his whole career and is especially passionate about tennis. He's been the Editor of for over 5 years and loves watching live tennis by visiting as many tournaments as possible. Michael specialises in writing in-depth features about the ATP & WTA tours.