‘If I am being honest, I prefer other surfaces to clay,’ admits Denis Shapovalov

Denis Shapovalov has admitted clay is his least favourite surface, but he says he still backs himself to beat anyone on the red dirt.

The Canadian ace is set to play Estoril this week as he begins to crank up his preparation for the upcoming major clay events over the next two months.

Clay is certainly a surface where he has generally struggled to make much of an impact and, although he is happy to concede he sometimes lacks the patience to excel on clay, he still tries to hold himself to high expectations.

“If I’m being completely honest, I prefer other surfaces,” Shapovalov said.

“I do love the feeling of playing on clay, the sliding, [but] it is more gruelling, it’s longer points.

“I think my favourite is grass. There is just practically no rallies, so it’s awesome. It is just serves and returns, it’s perfect.”

“You try to build the points a little bit more, you try to be a bit more patient, construct a bit more on the clay because obviously a lot of guys are far back and it’s much slower so it’s tough to just hit and come in.

“You have to really pick the right ball. But nonetheless, on hard courts or on clay courts or whatever surface I’m playing on I’m trying to be aggressive and come in, so it doesn’t really change at the end of the day.

“It doesn’t matter who’s on the other side, I’m going to play my game and when it clicks, then it clicks.

“I don’t know if it’s ever a specific moment or not, but it just happens. You get a win here or there and then you start feeling super confident.

“That’s where I think I can be dangerous; when I start getting those couple wins under my belt, start feeling my game, then I feel like I’m able to beat any of the players.”

Shapovalov starts his Estoril campaign against Frenchman Corentin Moutet on Thursday.

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