French Open 2018: Denis Shapovalov eyes 'funnest' grass-court season after second-round exit at Roland Garros

Shapovalov had been seeded at a major tournament for the first time but struggled after losing the second-set tie-break.

AFP May 31, 2018 21:30:20 IST
French Open 2018: Denis Shapovalov eyes 'funnest' grass-court season after second-round exit at Roland Garros

Paris: Canadian teenager Denis Shapovalov said he wasn't putting any pressure on himself and is "excited" for the grass-court season after his French Open second-round exit to Maximilian Marterer on Thursday.

The 19-year-old 24th seed started strongly on Court One, leading by a set and a break, but lost his rhythm as he made 82 unforced errors in a 5-7, 7-6 (4), 7-5, 6-4 defeat.

French Open 2018 Denis Shapovalov eyes funnest grasscourt season after secondround exit at Roland Garros

Denis Shapovalov in action against Maximilian Marterer. AP

The highly-rated left-hander, who became the youngest man to break the world's top 30 since 2005 by reaching his second Masters semi-final in Madrid earlier this year, will now turn his attention to grass — the "funnest part" of the season.

"Grass is going to be a big part of the season for me. I always enjoyed playing on it. It really suits my game style," said Shapovalov, who will play the tournament at Stuttgart which starts on June 11.

"I'm excited to go out there. Obviously I'm going to try to rest for a couple of days.

"I'm excited, you know, it's a short part of the season, but for me, it's the funnest part."

Shapovalov first rose to prominence last year after being defaulted in a Davis Cup tie against Britain for accidentally injuring an umpire by striking a loose ball into his eye, before making the headlines for the right reasons with a stunning win over Rafael Nadal in Montreal.

His aggressive style of play didn't pay off on Thursday, though, as world number 70 Marterer fought back to reach his second straight Grand Slam third round.

But Shapovalov, who was playing a full clay-court season for the first time in his career this year, said he won't linger on the defeat for long: "I just try not to put any (pressure) on myself, to be honest.

"Obviously, you know, when you have good results, any player is going to have a lot of media, a lot of people talking about them.

"At the end of the day, I play the sport for myself. I come out, I enjoy it. It's not about what people will think about me. I do it for myself. That alone... it takes the pressure off me. If I lose, it's my bad. If I win, you know, it's good on me.

"I chose this sport because I love it, not because someone told me to do it."

Shapovalov had been seeded at a major tournament for the first time but struggled after losing the second-set tie-break.

"Obviously I'm disappointed with the loss, but like I said, I'm only 19, so not every week is going to be a semi-final of of a big tournament," he added.

"It's going to be ups and downs, and I just have to keep enjoying it, keep enjoying the journey."

Marterer, 22, will face lucky loser Jurgen Zopp of Estonia for a place in the last 16 and a potential clash with 10-time champion Nadal.

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