Canada's newest tennis darling posed for a photo with the tennis great he beat almost 10 years ago
By now, you may have seen the photo circulating of a pint-sized Denis Shapovalov, Canada's newest tennis darling, posing with Rafael Nadal, whom he beat Thursday night during Rogers Cup action in Montreal.
In case you haven't though, here it is in all its glory. It appears to have been taken at the Rogers Cup nine years ago, when Shapovalov, in the red baseball cap, was nine years old.
After Shapovalov, now 18, beat Adrian Mannarino of France in quarter-final action Friday night, he was asked about the photo.
He claims he didn't remember taking it until it began circulating on social media in the hours after his big win, but he remembers the day vividly.
As a young up-and-coming Canadian tennis player, he was supposed to play for five minutes before Nadal took the court, but the match before took so long there wasn't time.
"I was little bit bummed out because I thought Rafa was going to watch me play, you know, before his match," he said, laughing and eliciting chuckles from the reporters in the room.
He said he stuck around to watch the match and remembers how Igor Andreev, Nadal's opponent, rolled his ankle but still tried to battle it out, not unlike how Shapovalov himself has been powering through adversity this week. (Nadal won en route to being crowned tournament champ that year, if you were wondering).
Shapovalov, the youngest ATP World Tour Masters 1000 semi-finalist ever, will face Alexander Zverev of Germany in the semis tonight, sometime after 8 p.m. ET.