“He beat Rafa in front of thousands of fans, and I was shaking,” he said.
Since then, Shapovalov has made just two other Masters 1000 semifinals, losing to Roger Federer in Miami in March and to Zverev in Madrid last year.
Now ranked No. 32, Shapovalov knows that the familiarity of IGA Stadium could make it the perfect environment to reset his career.
“For me, a lot of people mention that I kind of lost that fire in me, that pumped-ness, whatever it is,” he said. “I was like, ‘You’re so right.’”
On Tuesday afternoon, Auger-Aliassime got his first taste of having the eyes of his country on him. In front of more than 12,000 spectators at Center Court, he defeated a fellow Canadian, Vasek Pospisil, 6-2, 6-7 (3), 7-6 (3), in a match that took two and a half hours and required two tiebreakers.
Auger-Aliassime, who will play the Canadian star Milos Raonic on Wednesday night, admitted that he was nervous and not playing his best tennis in certain moments.
“For sure, I was scared of losing,” he said. “I can almost recall every point of the match.”
In only his third professional season, Auger-Aliassime has raised many expectations and won a lot of praise.
“Things that will improve when you’re young, when you’re 18, movement always gets better, power always becomes more,” the former world No. 1 Andy Roddick said in an article on the ATP website. “That’s just going to happen, and he already does both of those things pretty well.”