Novak Djokovic: ‘I’m trying to use that energy to…’


Denis Shapovalov is building on Canada’s great run as Davis Cup champions, carrying their final winning exploits into the new season with a quarterfinal showing at the Adelaide International on Thursday. The seventh seed moved comfortably past Roman Safiullin 6-4 6-3 on The Drive, the second straight qualifier he has beaten following his first-round win over Australia’s Rinky Hijikata. Now, his rival in the quarterfinals will be Serbian Novak Djokovic, the tournament’s first seed, who beat Frenchman Quentin Halys in two tight sets. “Last year we started by winning the ATP Cup, we ended up winning the Davis Cup, so definitely the team events were a big success for me last year,” Shapovalov said. “I’m definitely trying to implement that on the individual side. Obviously so far it’s been a great start. I hope I can capitalize on a good start to the week and I’m definitely excited for what’s to come.” While it took him three sets to find his way past Hijikata, he raised his game to topple 88th-ranked Safiullin in 82 minutes thanks to 23 winners. The pair had never met in singles before, but Shapovalov remembered well combining with Felix Auger-Aliassime to narrowly edge out his opponent and Daniil Medvedev in the ATP Cup semifinals a year ago. “Obviously from last year I know how tough Roman is. We had a very tough battle last year,” Shapovalov said. “I came into this match ready to go, ready to fire on all cylinders, I got off to a really good start this time and I was able to carry it off.”

Nole on the support he has received 

Back to winning ways Down Under, nine-time Australian Open champion Novak Djokovic also spoke about the support he has received from fans on his return to the country. “I honestly respect and appreciate the support, all the fans here this year, and particularly of the Serbian community has been very nice to me and to my team and making us feel very welcome. I’m trying to use that energy that they are giving me to play my best tennis and win a match. Hopefully I give them some good sensations, as well, good feelings of watching me play,” Djokovic said. Novak Djokovic has ruled tennis alongside Rafael Nadal for many years now. “I’ve seen many talents through the years come through and challenge, I guess, us guys at the top that have been more established at the top of the game,” he said.

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