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'NO HARD FEELINGS'

Shapovalov rues lack of maturity as Grand Slam bid ends

The 21-year-old went down in five sets to Pablo Carreno Busta on Tuesday

In Summary

•With Roger Federer and Rafa Nadal absent from Flushing Meadows, and Novak Djokovic disqualified in the fourth round, there will be a new name on a Grand Slam trophy for the first time since Stan Wawrinka’s 2016 U.S. Open triumph.

•“Definitely physically speaking I feel good. I feel like I could go all the way,” —Shapovalov

Denis Shapovalov of Canada reacts during his match against Pablo Carreno Busta of Spain in the men s singles quarter-finals.
Denis Shapovalov of Canada reacts during his match against Pablo Carreno Busta of Spain in the men s singles quarter-finals.
Image: REUTERS

Canadian Denis Shapovalov says a lack of maturity cost him a semi-final berth at the U.S. Open, a Grand Slam that is up for grabs in the absence of the ‘Big Three’ of men’s tennis.

The 21-year-old went down in five sets to Pablo Carreno Busta on Tuesday in a match he looked destined to win after serving his opponent a bagel in the fourth set and then watching him receive treatment to his lower back before the decider.

With Roger Federer and Rafa Nadal absent from Flushing Meadows, and Novak Djokovic disqualified in the fourth round, there will be a new name on a Grand Slam trophy for the first time since Stan Wawrinka’s 2016 U.S. Open triumph.

“Very frustrating right now. Tough to look at positives,” left-hander Shapovalov told reporters. “I need to mature a little bit more, be in these situations more often. “I played tight, I did. I’m sure the next time I’ll be in this situation I’ll be more comfortable with it.”

Shapovalov had been in long battles in earlier rounds, facing a match point in his third-round win against Taylor Fritz and being pushed to four sets in his three other matches before Tuesday’s quarter-final -- his first at a Grand Slam.

“Definitely physically speaking I feel good. I feel like I could go all the way,” he said. “That’s a positive. I found a positive.”

With Carreno Busta, Alexander Zverev, Dominic Thiem, Alex de Minaur and Russians Daniil Medvedev and Andrey Rublev still in the hunt for the trophy on Sunday, Shapovalov said few of them will have experienced the pressure of a deep Grand Slam run.

“There’s a lot of dark horses out there. It’s anybody’s slam,” he added. “It’s very exciting for tennis. It’s definitely causing a lot of nervous matches.”

Elsewhere, Alexander Zverev has lashed out at Martina Navratilova after the 18-times Grand Slam champion said he had played “pat-a-cake” tennis at times during his victory over Borna Coric in the quarter-finals of the US Open on Tuesday.

The German fifth seed was 6-1 4-2 down early in his contest against the Croatian before rallying to win in four sets and reach his second Grand Slam semi-final of the year.

The 23-year-old bristled when he was told that Navratilova had said in TV commentary that he would never win a Grand Slam playing the way he had. “Maybe she should look at my record against the big guys,” he said. “Maybe she should look that I’m positive against Roger (Federer). Maybe she should look that.

“I’ve beaten Novak (Djokovic) on multiple occasions in big matches and finals. And I’m in the semi-finals, and sometimes not playing your best and finding a way is more important than playing your best.

“But she’s a Grand Slam champion, as well, multiple Grand Slam champion, she’s respected, but her opinion right now does not matter to me.”

Navratilova later clarified that her comment had been about how unaggressive Zverev, who is better known by the Russian diminutive Sasha, had been during his slow start.