Denis Shapovalov 2022 Year in Review

Denis Shapovalov in action at the Laver Cup.

Denis Shapovalov has been seen as one of the future ATP stars since his breakout year in 2019. His first title came that year at the age of 20 and he has always been a threat to even the top players on tour. His high-power game leads to a lot of winners but also unforced errors. That inconsistency has prevented him from progressing further in the sport. He finished the year ranked #18 which is still strong for his age-23 season, but it is his lowest year end rank since 2018. Like some of his recent years, he had some flashes of brilliance but struggled for a sustained period of success.

Strong Start to The Season

Shapovalov began the year strong at the ATP Cup, winning three of his four matches and helping to lead Canada to the title. He followed it up with a strong showing at the Australian Open, making just his third career major quarterfinal. He beat Alexander Zverev in the process, and pushed eventually winner Rafael Nadal to five sets in their quarterfinal match. Shapovalov oddly was unable to continue the form he showed in Australian for the rest of the hard court swing, going just 5-5 his next ten matches. His worst results were at the two Masters events in Miami and Indian Wells, where he won just one match and lost early to Lloyd Harris and Andy Murray.

Although his form fell off, a strong performance at a major seemed to be signs of what was to come. He earned just his second career top-3 win and his first top-5 win at a grand slam. The Canadian has not been his best on clay, but was quickly becoming an outside Wimbledon favorite following his semifinal appearance last year.

Dismal European Summer

While Shapovalov does have positives to look back on in 2022, almost none of them came on the summer clay and grass court events. After a second round loss in Madrid, he had an incredible run to the Rome quarterfinals highlighted by an upset of Nadal. Beating the greatest clay court player ever seemed like a sign of things to come for Shapovalov, as well as the confidence and momentum coming out of that match. He was not able to capture any of that, losing his first round matches in his final two clay events in Geneva and at the French Open.

Grass seems to be a perfect fit for Shapovalov’s game with his strong serve and fast pace on his groundstrokes. Few young players have mastered the surface with Shapovalov seeming like one of them with his 2021 Wimbledon performance. He could not capture any of last year’s magic on grass this year, entering three events before Wimbledon and losing his first match in all of them, none of his opponents being ranked in the top-30. Wimbledon did not seem much better, with Shapovalov having to come from two sets to one down to beat Arthur Rinderknech in the first round before bowing out in the second round of the event.

Strong End to the Hard Court Season

The welcome hard court swing did not seem to help Shapovalov’s luck much, losing consecutive matches in Washington and at the Canadian Masters where he always seemed to play well in the past. Third round appearances at the Cincinnati Masters and US Open certainly showed he was moving in the right direction but were not quite where he would want to be. The tour headed to Asian then back to Europe for indoor hard courts where Shapovalov finished the year on a high note.

In Asia, Shapovalov reached the final in Seoul, his first of the year then made the semis the next week in Tokyo. Those good results seemed to give him some momentum to the indoor events, where he made another final in Vienna, beating Taylor Fritz along the way and taking Daniil Medvedev to a third set in the final match. He again played for Canada this time at the Davis Cup, where he struggled at first but beat Thanasi Kokkinakis in the final to help lead Canada to the title.


Shapovalov’s season was certainly disappointing by his standards but there were plenty of highlights. Being a part of Canada’s triumphs at the ATP and Davis Cups is something to be proud of outside of individual achievements. While he made just two finals, that equaled his best mark of his career, as winning tournaments has always been a struggle due to his lack of consistency. Shapovalov earned three top-10 wins and reached a major quarterfinal, but had several poor losses and did not make it past the third round in the other three majors.

An up-and-down season is what we have come to expect from Shapovalov, but this year did not quite show all of the brilliance he is capable of. His talent is still clear, but he will need to make improvements in his consistency both match to match and within matches to make the next step into the top-10, something he is certainly capable of.

Main Photo from Getty Images