Source: After captivating tennis fans worldwide with a whirlwind rise up the ATP Tour standings, Denis Shapovalov capped 2017 being named the Canadian Press Male Athlete of the Year on Tuesday.
The 18-year-old native of Ontario, known for his on-court flair, flowing blonde locks and backwards baseball cap as well as his energetic, athletic on-court play, began 2017 ranked 250th in the world and finished it No. 51. Shapovalov topped out at No. 49 after a semifinals run at the Rogers Cup in which he beat Rafael Nadal and Juan Martin Del Potro, among others, and a memorable first appearance at the U.S. Open where he advanced to the fourth round, beating 12th-ranked Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the process.
In an interview with the Canadian Press after being informed of the honor, Shapovalov said, “To be honest, I’m a little overwhelmed to get this award, this huge honor. There are so many Canadian athletes that deserve it, so it’s honestly motivating me to keep going and work harder. I’m very happy.”
Pittsburgh Penguins superstar Sidney Crosby, who captained his club to a second straight Stanley Cup championship while winning his second consecutive Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP, finished one point behind Shapovalov in the CP voting. Sixty-four Canadian sports editors and broadcasters voted for this award. Shapovalov received 20 votes, Crosby had 19 and Cincinnati Reds first baseman Joey Votto finished third with 11 votes.
The popular left-hander finished 2017 with a 12-13 record on the ATP Tour. Prior to his successful summer runs, Shapovalov won a Futures tournament in Gatineau and a pair of Challenger tournies in Drummondville and Gatineau.
Shapovalov kicks off the 2018 schedule on Dec. 31 when the Brisbane International gets underway in Australia.
Regardless of your on-court success last year, we still remember you for this and it’s always going to be gold. Gold, Jerry.
Kick some more ass in 2018 and take it easy on the umps.