In Edmonton for the Davis Cup, emerging Canadian tennis superstar Denis Shapovalov has taken over Wayne Gretzky’s old dressing room stall.
“I stole it before anyone could get it,” Shapovalov chuckled at a news conference on Tuesday, commenting on his prime spot at Northlands Coliseum.
Shapovalov said he was inspired after meeting “The Great One” in Montreal while playing in the Rogers Cup.
Now Shapovalov may be on his way to being “The Great One” of tennis.
He shocked the world by defeating number one ranked Rafael Nadal during the Rogers Cup in Montreal last month, and he also had strong showing at the U.S. Open.
Shapovalov has gone from relative anonymity to household name in recent months.
“It’s quite a change,” he said about his rise to fame.
The wunderkind is teaming up with Daniel Nestor, a top-10 player in the history of doubles tennis, for the Davis Cup playoff.
The two will join veteran Vasek Pospisil and newcomer Brayden Schnur in a best-of-five against India starting Friday at Northlands Coliseum.
“I practiced with Denis years ago, and he was already beating me,” Nestor said alongside Shapovalov at the news conference.
This is Shapovalov’s third appearance at the Davis Cup, but the first since the infamous incident when he accidentally hit an umpire in the face with a ball in an act of frustration.
The incident led to a disqualification and a 3-2 loss to Britain in Ottawa in February.
“I’m not even thinking about it anymore. I’m ready to move on,” he said.
With files from CTV Edmonton’s Adam Cook