'Inspired me': Woman behind young gun's historic US Open run

·3-min read
Pictured here, Denis Shapovalov and his girlfriend, Swedish tennis player Mirjam Bjorklund.
Denis Shapovalov credits his girlfriend Mirjam Bjorklund with helping his tennis game. Pic: Instagram

Tennis young gun Denis Shapovalov has praised his girlfriend Mirjam Bjorklund for inspiring a record-setting run at the US Open.

The 21-year-old became the first Canadian man in history to reach the quarter-finals of the New York grand slam with his fourth round victory over David Goffin.

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Shapovalov credits the positive impact his girlfriend has had on his game as he chases more records and possibly even a maiden grand slam title at Flushing Meadows.

The men's draw has been thrown wide open with the absences of Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, with Novak Djokovic's disqualification meaning there will definitely be a first-time winner of the men's singles title in 2020.

After booking his spot in the last eight of the tournament, Shapovalov has a golden opportunity to go one step further and reach his first grand slam semi-final.

Speaking after his win over Goffin, the Canadian young gun heaped praise on Bjorklund for the positive effect she's had on his game.

“I just think as soon as we started dating, it’s kind of a reason for someone to want to man up,” Shapovalov said.

“I felt like she’s definitely inspired me to become a better person, a better tennis player.

Bjorklund is also a professional tennis player and the 22-year-old will be following intently as Shapovalov chases his dream in New York.

The Swede has travelled with Shapovalov around the world and shared a happy snap of the couple in Melbourne during the Australian Open earlier in the year.

Bjorklund last month broke into the world's top 300 for the first time in her career, but Shapovalov was quick to stress that she's not the only major influence on his career.

“I don’t mean to take anything away from my parents or my team, as well. I feel like everybody’s inspiring me. They’re staying up at night watching my matches. Everybody is supporting me.

Canadian facing Carreno Busta in last eight

“Throughout the start of my life my parents have just been there always for me. I think it’s everybody.

“But, of course, she (Bjorklund) inspires me as well.”

The Canadian's girlfriend captioned a photo of the pair on the eve of the US Open by saying: "Goodluck tomorrow at the US Open my superstar".

Shapovalov's opponent in the US Open quarter-finals is Spain's Pablo Carreno Busta, who won via default against Djokovic after the World No.1's now infamous incident with a female line judge.

Djokovic was disqualified from the tournament, docked his ranking points and hit with significant fines after accidentally hitting a ball into the throat of the official.

"Of course I think that this was not intentional," Carreno Busta said after the match.

"I don't think that any one of the players does these kind of things intentionally.

"It's just the moment... You cannot do this, but of course I think that Novak never wanted to hit the line umpire."

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