THE BREAK: Shapovalov spoke out in favor of equal prize money in an essay for The Players Tribune.


PARIS—For chocolate lovers, a day without Nutella at Roland Garros can feel like one without sunshine.

No. 26 seed Denis Shapovalov would surely co-sign that sentiment, resolving to maintain his daily dessert even in spite of a so-called “Nutella Curse”—one which has, in the past, appears to felled a slew of rising European football prospects in the last two decades:

Q. I don't know how true this is, but I've heard that when you're in Paris, you like croissants, but rather controversially, with Nutella as well. Now, this is quite important because you might not know this, but there's been some serious journalism around the Nutella curse. It's actually affected sport stars in the past. I know that the sport is just recovering from the Netflix curse. So just tell us about your love of Nutella, and how confident you are of rewriting history and breaking the Nutella curse here at Roland Garros by playing some great tennis?

DENIS SHAPOVALOV: Yeah, it's interesting. It's the first time I've heard about that, but I'll try to do my research. You know, I'm a little superstitious, but I don't think I'll go that far (laughing). I think I like my Nutella too much to give it up. Yeah, if I do go deep, maybe I'll think a little bit more about it.

I think I've had some good wins as well with some Nutella and some bad food before, the day before. So yeah, I don't think it affects too much.

Q. So the perfect meal and the perfect preparation for Roland Garros, what will you give us for that?

DENIS SHAPOVALOV: I mean, I'm definitely trying to eat healthy. I'm not saying that. You know, once in a while if I'm just walking on the street with my girlfriend and we pass by an ice cream place, you know, I might stop by. Who knows? Chocolate croissant, I might go in for one.

But I try to stay healthy for the most part and, yeah, eat well, but also just kind of listen to my body, whatever I'm craving and what I feel that I need.

Despite a niggling left knee injury, Shapovalov is clearly hearing some good things from his body this week; the 24-year-old is into the third round of Roland Garros for the first time in his career, earning him an intriguing clash with top seed and world No. 1 Carlos Alcaraz.

Can a chocolate croissant help him conquer Carlitos?