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'I am trying to play as few tournaments as possible,' admits Denis Shapovalov

Denis Shapovalov backhand

Denis Shapovalov says he is trying to play as few tournaments as possible this year as Covid protocols are 'taking a toll' on him.

Shapovalov made a successful start to his Dubai campaign on Tuesday, beating Jan-Lennard Struff 6-1, 6-3.

Afterwards, though, he lifted the lid on how tough life has been for players in the bio-secure Covid bubble that operates at tournaments now, and it goes a long way to explaining the spate of withdrawals we have seen in the last couple of weeks.

"I've been trying to stay out of the bubble as much as possible," Shapovalov said.

"After Australia I felt like it took a toll on me, so I came to Dubai just to practice and relax, and pulled out of Rotterdam because I didn't feel ready.

"I am trying to play as few tournaments as possible and sometimes new tournaments [for him] like this one helps because it's something new, it doesn't feel like a routine.

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"It's something to look forward to when you play new tournaments.

"I feel like it's more interesting because everything is new: the courts, the restaurant, its a new experience, so it's a little bit easier for myself.

"I definitely don't want to play too much this year if it's going to be a bubble life because it is extremely difficult mentally to be locked up like this.

"Of course it's amazing to play, but as the weeks go on, you kind of lose that passion for tennis and a lot of players are struggling with that.

"So we are trying to take the approach of kind of minimizing that as much as possible and just enjoying every match that I do go out and play this year."

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