MONTREAL — Denis Shapovalov's coach wasn't surprised that the teenager was able to keep his head while upsetting a tennis legend on centre court at the Rogers Cup.Martin Laurendeau said Friday that he saw it a year ago when Shapovalov beat Australian star Nick Kyrgios in the Rogers Cup first round in Toronto and the 18-year-old's cool head was evident again this week with wins over 2009 U. Open champion Juan Martin Del Potro and former world No.1 Rafael Nadal.
It was then, he says, that he decided rowing was no longer for him."I realised that my enjoyment for the sport had gone, I didn't love it anymore."He says watching from afar as the Oarsome Foursome won gold at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics "wasn't hard at all"."If I was there I don't think they would have done as well, because I couldn't commit to the cause like we had four years previously." Cooper moved to the small NSW Riverina town of Moulamein where he became a farmer "to try something different".It was a back-and-forth match, with several break points saved on both sides. Doing that on Court 4 against a journeyman is a different story than doing it on center court, but not everybody can go up to that level. "I think he's going to be a wonderful player." Laurendeau said Shapovalov is still developing the physical and mental sides of the game.Shapovalov fell behind 3-0 in the tiebreaker, but a Nadal double fault and two aces gave the youngster the match. It was a good night for tennis in some ways." It helped that Shapovalov had nothing to lose and could try risky shots, but so far, that seems to be part of the youngster's success. A major test came in February at a Davis Cup World Group series against Britain in Ottawa."All the guys he's played up to, he takes it to them," said Laurendeau, who coaches Shapovalov and serves as Canada's Davis Cup captain. "He's like a fish in water when you put him on a big court against a big player.I don't know if you can teach that, but he has that and he's making the most of it." Shapovalov, of Richmond Hill, Ont., posted one of the biggest wins in Canadian tennis history when he battled Nadal for two hours 45 minutes on Thursday night and pulled out the victory in a third-set tiebreaker.I'm really happy with where I'm at." Petria Thomas competed at three Olympic Games, winning eight medals — three gold, four silver and one bronze.