NEW YORK—Which legendary tennis champion does Denis Shapovalov remind you of? It seems that everyone has a slightly different opinion. Put them together, and one thing is clear: The 18-year-old Canadian, who on Friday became the youngest man to reach the fourth round at the US Open since 1998, has the traits and mannerisms of a champion.
Lleyton Hewitt’s name is usually high on the list of antecedents, and it’s easy to see why. Shapovalov wears his blond hair at shoulder length—hockey hair, as it’s known up north—and hides it under a backwards baseball cap, the way Hewitt did. But Shapovalov has added a personal touch. He wears a hat that appears to be about five sizes too big, and then pulls the adjustment band so tight that it ends up sticking out in front of his face.
“I have a small head,” Shapovalov explained with a laugh on Friday, when he was asked about the origins of this unique style choice.
But he’s sticking with the too-tight look. “I do have smaller hats, but it’s just kind of a little bit of my trademark. And a couple people are calling it ‘Shapo fashion.’” (Whether those couple people know anything about fashion, I have no idea.)