Denis Shapovalov on sushi, burgers and the banana problem: Food Court | ATP Circuit


Denis Shapovalov is recognized as one of the cleanest hitters on the ATP Tour, but where does the power of the World No. 16 come from? The 23-year-old, who led Team Canada’s charge to the 2022 ATP Cup alongside Felix Auger-Aliassime, is happy to tap into the nutritional value of bananas when he’s on the court, but he’s less convinced of the taste. .

Shapovalov would rather eat a good hamburger, but admits he wouldn’t be the one doing the cooking. Not unless eggs are involved…

In this edition of The Tour – Food Court, Shapovalov reveals to how he plans his match day meals, his favorite place to eat in Toronto and more.


Let’s say you have to cook something, what would you cook for dinner and why?
My gourmet skills are in scrambled eggs! That’s where my chef skills end, so I’d cook some eggs.

Do you want to try and learn how to cook more things?
Definitely. My girlfriend [Swedish WTA star Mirjam Bjorklund] And I keep saying we want to take some cooking classes together, but we don’t have time right now. Definitely in the future, it is something that interests us both. Right now for me, I’m just in charge of making the tortillas! That is my role.

What is your guilty pleasure? Would you eat it from time to time or very rarely?
I have to say probably a good burger. I’ll have it from time to time, definitely not during tournaments and things like that, but if I finish a tournament or if I’m training, for sure. I like to go for a good burger.

What would you put on it?
Honestly, it’s pretty simple. Obviously ketchup, mustard, tomatoes, lettuce, pickles, that’s it. And a good bun, the bun is very important. Just a good Italian or white scone. It has to be of good quality, it has to be fresh. The bun is what makes it or breaks it.

Do you eat something specific the night before a game, or does it not matter so much?
Yes, there are a couple of things. Obviously, it’s not always the same, but it’s definitely healthier. Or some pasta, some salmon and rice, or some sushi. Those are probably the three things I choose.

What kind of sushi?
Probably just salmon, avocado, or tuna.

On the day of a match, do I have to eat a certain time before the match? Do you have a routine?
I like to have at least an hour and a half to digest, so I try to eat two hours before the game. I like to warm up before I eat, so I’ll back up my day a bit. When I want to mobilize, when I want to warm up, depending on when I want to eat before my game.

During a match, has your snack routine changed? Some guys eat gels now, when they used to eat bananas, for example.
It’s always been bananas for me, unfortunately I hate bananas! My coach when I was a child, Adriano, told me that eating a banana is a great secret to winning. I follow him since that day, even though I hate him.

Did you always hate them, or did you just come to hate them because you eat them so much?
I have never liked them. I think the hate stemmed from me always eating them. So we’ll have bananas in the house all the time, but I’ll never touch them, and I never wanted to.

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Have you ever tried something different?
I tried to look for more nutrition and what I could have on the court, gels and things like that. But early in my career, I got a little sick with food poisoning from a gel, so I went back to bananas!

Some guys have special drinks that they make on the court. Do you drink or only drink water?
I have some sports drinks that I make, but I’m not really particular about what I use.

How different is your diet in a tournament week compared to a training week?
Is different. Obviously, I’m not just walking around eating junk food during the training weeks, but I’m not as picky during those weeks. I feel like if I stick to the diet I’m on during tournament weeks… I’ll go crazy if I have to do that every week. So I try to give myself a little bit of freedom during the weeks that aren’t that important.

It must be hard to stick to your diet for an extended period of time if you didn’t.
Yes, it’s just not my personality, it’s not my way of being, always following a strict diet or routine. I have always been a bit more open and enjoy changing food. [instead] to get bored It’s definitely just the way I am.

Are there any foods from your childhood that you still enjoy?
My mother prepared very good dishes, many Russian dishes very well. Mashed potatoes with some breaded chicken, probably not so Russian but my favorite dish of hers! But for Russian food, the Russian dumplings were awesome.

Does MIrjam cook Swedish stuff for you to try?
She cooks like 95 percent of the time. Between the two of us, I only make breakfast. She makes a very good chicken and rice which I really enjoy.

Maybe she’ll teach you one day…
Maybe! She also does a good steak.

Is there a restaurant to go to that has a meal that is your favorite thing?
There is a place in Toronto that I always visit. Every time I’m there they have the best sliders I’ve ever had. The restaurant is called Joey’s. Every time I go back to Toronto I have to visit it.

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