Not everyone would be able to handle their mom coaching them.
Mine just asked me to come for dinner tonight… in Vancouver, and I’ve told her I’m in Toronto every time she’s called me this past week – about every other day.
Despite her warmth and kindness, I don’t think it would work for us.
For Denis Shapovalov, it is working. Not only that, the partnership has been producing great results.
“I’ve been working a lot with my mom on my serve,” said Shapovalov after his first round Rogers Cup win over Jeremy Chardy on Tuesday. “Today it showed huge improvement.”
In his 6-1, 6-3 victory, Shapovalov hit his first serves in at a rate of 76 percent, a marked improvement over his 56 percent first serve percentage on the year so far.
On Wednesday, he beat World No. 14, Italian Fabio Fognini, in straight sets (6-3, 7-5), to advance to the third round.
Shapovalov’s mother, Tessa, makes a living as a tennis coach and she now runs her own tennis club, TessaTennis. While she coached and taught Denis the game growing up, she has handed off coaching duties to Tennis Canada and his full-time coach Martin Larendeau over the years.
Now, with Laurendeau slowed by a back injury, she’s been pulled back into action.
The 19-year-old expanded on what makes his mother a good coach after his first-round win.
“First of all, she does a really good job of being my mom off-court and giving me my space and, you know, loving me,” he explained. “While on the court she’s tough and she keeps me disciplined and she’s my coach.”
What’s important, according to him, is this: “She’s not my mom on court.”
“I feel like we’ve really found that balance together and it’s been really good the past couple of weeks. I feel like I’ve improved a lot. She’s really been working my game.”
Canada’s rising star explained that the reason he trusts her is her understanding of his own abilities.
“She knows my game better than anybody, better than even I do. That’s what I feel like makes her such a great coach and makes her work well with me. It’s because she knows my game inside out and she knows how to make me get back to feeling good and improving my strokes.”