Alex Harvey

Shapovalov and Auger-Aliassime: their Miami Open journey by the numbers

Canada’s young tennis stars have been making headlines for several months, both in Canada and internationally. Last week, Denis Shapovalov and Felix Auger-Aliassime both reached the semi-finals of the Miami Open. And it’s huge.

To better understand the magnitude of their rise in recent months, let’s take a look at the numbers.

READ: Bianca Andreescu’s rise to tennis stardom explained

Félix and Denis: a bromance we love

If you didn’t know yet, Felix Auger-Aliassime and Denis Shapovalov are childhood friends, learning how to play tennis at the same time. Shapo even lived with Auger-Aliassime during the 2017 Rogers Cup, the most recent year the men competed in Montreal. Today, they find themselves together in the greatest spheres of world tennis, and continue to remain good friends, even when they clash.

27: On August 27, 2018, Felix and Denis went head-to-head at the US Open. Felix had to withdraw for health reasons, and we had one of the most moving moments between the two friends.

2: In Miami, it was the second time that two Canadians had competed at the semifinals of an ATP Masters 1000 tournament since the beginning of this series. The first time it happened was in 2013, between Milos Raonic and Vasek Pospisil at the Rogers Cup.

18 + 19: The ages of Auger-Aliassime (18) and Shapovalov (19) together equal the age of Roger Federer.

Denis Shapovalov: not just a stroke of luck

Shapovalov entered the big leagues in 2017 at the Rogers Cup in Montreal. We remember how it was yesterday: Shapo beat Rafael Nadal in the round of 16 in three sets of 3-6, 6-4 and 7-6, in front of a local crowd.

If some people could think that it was a stroke of luck, that Nadal had not had a good day, that Shapovalov would be put back in his place rather quickly…Well, some were wrong.

2: Shapovalov is the second youngest player to reach the semi-finals of the Miami Open. Who is the youngest? His friend Felix, of course.

3: This is a third semifinal of a Masters 1000 ATP tournament for the Canadian.

20: Shapovalov’s new spot in the ATP world rankings. He has moved up three places since last week to enter the top 20, and is now five places behind teammate Milos Raonic.

37 and 19: The ages of Roger Federer and Shapovalov when they faced off in the semifinals in Miami. Federer said in an interview that Shapovalov was not even born when he started his tennis career.

Their age difference (18) is the biggest in the history between two opponents in the quarter-finals, semi-finals or finals of a Masters 1000 ATP tournament.

Félix Auger-Aliassime: the one who breaks all age records

A year ago, we talked about Felix Auger-Aliassime as a next generation player, someone who could take over in a few years. Few experts, even within Tennis Canada, had predicted that his climb would be so dizzying.

Then last week in Miami, he became the youngest player in tournament history to reach the semifinals.

182: FAA’s spot a year ago on March 19, 2018, in the world rankings.

100: Auger-Aliassime broke through the top 100 a little over a month ago, on February 25, 2019, when he reached the finals of the Rio Open. And it was not a discrete entry: he was 60th.

33: The new world ranking of Auger-Aliassime in the ATP rankings. Of course, this is his best career ranking. Auger-Aliassime is the youngest player to reach this rank since Lleyton Hewitt on October 18, 1999, who was exactly the same age (18 years, 7 months and 24 days).

24: FAA has jumped 24 places since last week, the biggest climb of the week. His new rank has allowed him to obtain one of four wildcard entries for the Madrid Open coming up next month.

34: The highest ranking that Rafael Nadal had obtained at the current age of Felix Auger-Aliassime.

2000: Auger-Aliassime was the first child of the 2000s to be on the main draw of a grand slam tournament at Flushing Meadows last August.

5: The number of wins in his first five games against top-20 players. He has the best result in history for this statistic.

We don’t know exactly what is waiting for the two friends, but what we do know is that it will be great.