Denis Shapovalov had little trouble in his opening match at the 2018 Australian Open on Monday, but when it came to this impassioned battle with a valiantly stubborn banana, the 18-year-old found himself in a tough spot.
Up 3-0 on first-round opponent Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece in the third set of his first-ever main draw victory at the Aussie Open, Shapovalov came face to face with a stack of yellow, elongated pieces of fruit that proved to be his toughest test yet. After reaching for the first, Shapo was rejected by the toughened banana skin before dropping it to his side in defeat and reaching for another.
The process was repeated a total of four times, with three different bananas involved in the play—each tough-ass skin proving harder to crack than the last. Finally, on his fourth try, the Richmond Hill, Ontario, native found himself on the right side of history, gloriously conquering the tenacious peel before letting out a rousing fist pump in celebration.
After hitting nine aces and 33 winners, converting on five-of-eight break points and winning 57 percent of his first service points, the 50th-ranked Shapovalov took his tournament opener 6-1, 6-3, 7-6 (5) to set up a rematch with 15th seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, whom the young Canuck upset in their only career meeting at the US Open last summer.
Shapo should have a good shot to prove his first victory over the Frenchman was no fluke, as long as he doesn't let these cold-blooded bananas mess with his vibe.