The tennis world is having difficulty pronouncing Denis Shapovalov’s last name. It’s been awhile now that Denis has been playing the circuit, and his star is rising. He was named the ATP Star of Tomorrow for 2017 for heaven’s sake. Patience with mangled pronunciations is running thin. Come on!
(Photo credit above: Dita Alangkara/AP, Australian Open 2018).
People know what he looks like, how he plays, and that he is Canadian. No question, he is a fan and media favorite. He doesn’t seem to mind that neither referees, interviewers, broadcasters, nor fans can say his name correctly. He laughs it off in a Canadian kind of way. It’s getting embarrassing. Sorry, but announcers are doing a poor job of a relatively simple pronunciation. Let’s stop being so Canadian and insist that at least the professionals give the Shapovalov name the respect it deserves.
“The man sitting beside me on the airplane glances at the tennis racket sticking out of my carry-on. I ask him if he follows tennis. “Yes, I watch tennis, but only when the Canadians are playing, you know, that young one, what’s his name, Sh…v… something?”
Here is the 101 on how to say “Shapovalov”.
Professional sportscasters are usually amazingly adept at pronouncing players’ names. This applies especially to Canadian announcers who can rattle off Russian hockey player names without a stumble. Everyone is talking about Denis Shapovalov, or trying to. Let’s master his last name so we can focus on how skilled and entertaining he is on court. For all of you Canadians at Indian Wells over the next couple of weeks, MAKE IT RIGHT, and teach as many as you can the proper “Shapovalov” pronunciation, eh?
How about referees and broadcasters spending a couple of minutes on the pronunciation guide, then the domino effect should take over and everyone will have it mastered. We’re not sorry anymore, say it like it should be, Denis Shapovalov (final tip: accent on first and third syllables).