Read & Watch: Shapovalov Raps On Court In Indian Wells
After Denis Shapovalov beat Steve Johnson on Sunday, he agreed with Stadium 3 emcee Blair Henley that, if he won again on Stadium 3, he'd rap after the match. Shapovalov has posted videos online of himself rapping and says the hobby helps him relax and take his mind off tennis.
On Tuesday, he beat Marin Cilic to reach the fourth round, and Henley compelled him to make good on their agreement.
“Are you regretting that decision,” she asked him.
“Definitely not ready, but I'll give it a go,” Shapovalov said to a cheering crowd.
The stadium team cued up the music, and Shapovalov, who had prepared lyrics in advance, tried to go off memory. “I'm in Cali with my fans gettin' hella lit... happy with the win today,” he said, before laughing and losing his train of thought.
A couple false starts later and some nerves – “Way too much pressure!” he shouted – had the 19-year-old searching for his phone, which helped him officially launch his rap career at an ATP Masters 1000 event.
“I'm here in Cali with the fans gettin' hella lit. Happy with the win today, now I gotta float a spit. Lovin' the support, I leave it all on the court. Fightin' like a wolf, I'll be back for more so take care and good night. Know this the good life. Hot tubs and court time. Thursday we back, ight!?”
The crowd roared with approval. Friend and rival Aussie Nick Kyrgios, however, was not as impressed.
As much as you are an absolute gun, and gonna be crazy good for many many years, this was tough to watch my guy https://t.co/UCKGWWyLNm— Nicholas Kyrgios (@NickKyrgios) March 12, 2019
But Shapovalov, who is into his first Indian Wells fourth round, doesn't seem to mind what anyone thinks about his hobby.
“That was fun. That was cool... It's just a fun little part of me,” Shapovalov said in his post-match press conference.
“I don't mind ever rapping, but it's just, it wasn't easy after the match to find my thoughts, find the lyrics. I remember we were talking after my second-round match, and we just said, prepare something in case I win today.
“So I wrote down a couple of things, took me two, three minutes. Didn't actually look at it until after the match today. So I was like, 'Oh, my God, what are the lyrics again? What are the words?'”
He almost seemed more at ease during his 6-4, 6-2 rout of No. 11 Marin Cilic. Shapovalov, the 24th seed, saved both break points and will face Poland's Hubert Hurkacz on Wednesday for a place in the quarter-finals at the season's first Masters 1000.