Pressure or Relief? Playing at Home can bring either but Denis Shapovalov & Felix Auger Aliassime will be hoping to find some good form in Montreal

Felix Auger Aliassime and Denis Shapovalov were meant to set the tour alight, in parts they have but stand out performances and deep runs at big events have been few and far between.

Playing at home always brings some pressure, Felix will only turn 22 during the Rogers Cup in August where as Denis at 23 has struggled for momentum for some time. I do think we are at this point in the season now where we are in the ‘save your season’ terrortory and I do think to do that both of them will have to pull up trees.

Denis Shapovalov

He is only 23 and he has put on some great shows in the past but I still find myself thinking “what is his best shot?” and I don’t know and that’s a problem.

His career win percentage is 55%, he left Wimbledon with 16 wins and 13 defeats in 2022 and across his career is 150 to 123. He hasn’t lived up to the hype with one title in 2019 at a 250 event in Stockholm and we are at the point now where younger players are taking over and he has mountains to climb in my opinion.

Denis has mixed it up with his coaching staff, Denis has always had his Mum Tessa alongside him and fellow Canadian Peter Polansky, he has also had in recent times Mikhail Youzhny and Jamie Delgado but it hasn’t worked out.

It was at this event in 2017 as a wildcard and just 18 years old he defeated Rafael Nadal from a set down in the third round on his way to making the final four, we are now five years on and that progress isn’t there yet.

Felix Auger Aliassime

Felix only turns 22 during the tournament and I do think he is more consistent than his countryman. Felix for me is lacking repetition sometimes. I do find his game a little plain and plain is good, it can work and be super clean or it can offer little.

Offering little is what he did against Maxime Cressy at Wimbledon, he left London with 30 wins and 16 defeats in the season, not bad at all but it is very much two steps forward and one step back. The 21 year old has lost 5 of his last 6 quarter finals at Masters 1000 or Grand Slam level. Against Maxime I wasn’t shocked because the American has played well but too soon we got stuck in a rhythm of offering little on return.

It is a weird one, if he could bottle the great performances I think he would be knocking into the top five but we’ve seen him star against Zverev, Federer and Tsitsipas in the last twelve months but the performances are sporadic.

How will playing at home help them?

The bonus is the crowd, they are there for you and that is a big positive.

The downside to it is the pressure you put on yourself, I think is Denis hones in on his game and what works and if Felix can bottle those stand out performances we would see a much better players.

I’m not convinced at the moment, I think to ‘save their season’ then trees need to be pulled up. Felix is in a good position to qualify for Turin and I think he must…

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