Richmond Hill’s Denis Shapovolov misses the cut at the Terra Wortmann opener

Jun 23, 2023 | Sports

Denis Shapovalov, a professional tennis player from Richmond Hill, was defeated by number nine seed Alexander Zverev yesterday at the Terra Wortmann Open tournament.

The Terra Wortmann Open is taking place in Halle, Germany. It is part of the fourth-highest tier of professional tennis tournaments.

The tournament is part of the “grass-court swing,” a collection of events played on the grass where players compete in preparation for the year’s third Grand Slam, Wimbledon.

Despite the 24-year-old’s loss, Richmond Hill Mayor David West said he hasn’t lost hope for the rest of the season.

“He’s a very young man, and he’s a rising star in his career. So I have no doubt that he’ll be able to achieve great things moving forward,” West said.

Oliver Wheeler from Tennis Canada called Shapovalov one of the most exciting players on the ATP Tour, an annual top-tier tennis tour put on by the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP).

“He has accomplished a lot already with plenty of time still left in what is set to be a fantastic career at the highest level,” he said in an email response.

Shapovalov turned pro in 2017, and became a household name that same year after beating Rafael Nadal at the National Bank Open in Montreal.

Shapovalov earned his first ATP title in 2019 in Stockholm and reached the semi-finals of Wimbledon in 2021. He was also part of Team Canada’s historic ATP Cup and Davis Cup victories in 2022.

While he had a slower start this season, winning the first round of the Terra Wortmann Open on Monday had things looking up for Shapovalov.

“Despite early round defeats in some tournaments this year, there is no doubting Denis’ quality,” Wheeler said. “He is used to competing and winning at the highest level and, undoubtedly, he will have prepared for this event in the same way he does other events week-in, week-out – extremely professionally.”

This loss means Shapovalov is out of the Terra Wortmann Open. Even so, West said his first-round win was a big moment for Richmond Hill.

“It’s always a really proud moment to have any athlete win a tournament like this, particularly when it’s at a high international level,” West said. “We’re always really proud of our citizens when they achieve athletic achievements like this.”

He said Shapovalov’s accomplishments this season have been benefitted tennis as a sport.

“A local hero like that really does a lot to promote the sport of tennis in and around the GTA, particularly in Richmond Hill,” he said. “You’ve got young tennis players, and even more seasoned tennis players, that get very excited to know that one of their own is achieving success.”

Despite having a tough opponent in Zverev this round, West said Richmond Hill is eager to watch Shapovalov’s future matches.

“He’s got it in him, and Richmond Hill is certainly rooting for him,” he said.

Wimbledon, the upcoming Grand Slam tournament, begins July 3. A final list of players will be released in the coming weeks.