Tennis sensation Denis Shapovalov started his 2018 season with duds across the board.
Canada’s No. 2 was defeated in his first on-court appearance by British No. 2 Kyle Edmund and off it, suffered the ignominy of hearing his name butchered to extraordinary lengths by the announcer at the Brisbane International.
After beginning the 2017 season ranked No. 250 in the world ATP rankings, Shapovalov put together a breakout year, rising to No. 51 and securing memorable victories over Rafael Nadal amongst others along the way. Expectations are high for the 18-year-old in 2018 but on Tuesday, he lost a tight encounter 7-6, 6-7, 4-6 to Edmund, a man he swept aside at the U.S. Open in September to become the youngest player to reach the fourth round at Flushing Meadows since 1989.
Back in the locker room, Shapovalov turned on his phone to find a tweet to tie a bow on a disappointing day. The announcer at Pat Rafter Arena clearly hadn’t rehearsed or indeed looked at the page before declaring, “Please welcome, from Canada, Denis Shaporolarolov.”
(TennisTV ) pic.twitter.com/PvXPor8NYc
— Sarah Claire (@BerdVolleys) January 2, 2018
Linguistics experts at Yahoo Sports are still working on a full breakdown of the pronunciation, but leaning on some seasonal generosity, the best we can offer is S-H-A-P-O-R-O-L-A-R-O-L-O-V. Disappointedly, this 14-letter version would only score a modest 22 points on the Scrabble board but the man himself took it all in good humour.
During a summer to remember, when Shapovalov stole new hearts on route to the semifinals of Rogers Cup in Montreal, more than one pronunciation of his name was heard on broadcasts across the country as reporters rushed to figure out if ShaPOValov or ShapoVALov was the correct camp to post up in.
Thankfully, we can all rest easy now that we’ve been one-upped by Mr. Vowels Are My New Best Friend.
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