World No. 14 Denis Shapovalov suggested he is low on confidence after picking up back-to-back losses on clay. Shapovalov, who was beaten by Felix Auger-Aliassime at the Barcelona Open last week, lost his opener at the Estoril Open on Thursday as Corentin Moutet won 6-4 2-6 6-4.
"I don’t know, I have to go back and just speak with the team because my game is there but when I’m going out to the match it’s not coming out and it’s a mental issue more than anything else, because I’m practicing very good and at a very high level, and I’m just not able to bring that level out in the matches," Shapovalov said after losing to Moutet, per Tennis Majors.
Shapovalov dominated Moutet in the second set to force a decider but he failed to deliver the same level of play in the third set. "I’m always trying to be aggressive but I don’t think I was aggressive enough,” he said, “and I was just like doubting myself a lot on those shots and that’s why I’m missing, I’m like half-committing to coming in, half-committing to staying back, so I’m a little bit confused out there and that’s why there were so many mistakes”.
Shapovalov says it's a 'mental thing'
Shapovalov, who was seeded at No. 1 in the Estoril main draw, has now picked up back-to-back round-of-16 exits. "I think, again, it’s more of a mental thing,” Shapovalov said.
“If I fully commit I’m going to make those shots but something is holding me back during those moments, all those swing volleys, I’m not completely set because I’m not fully committed to it, really.
That’s it, I want to play aggressive, I want to play my game – I feel like when I do then I can beat anyone. It’s just about that clicking and mentally just committing to it and not being afraid to miss one or two and that’s more the issue right now.
"I think it’s just more of a confidence thing. When I’m confident, I’m not doubting myself and I’m able to go. Right now I haven’t had so many matches so, I’m a little bit, like, rusty, on whether I want to come in or whether I want to stay back.
But I don’t think it makes a difference on the clay or not, again it’s more of a thing within myself”.