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Shapovalov finds fault with both Wimbledon and ATP decisions – The Globe and Mail



Denis Shapovalov celebrates a point against Holger Rune of Denmark during the Men’s Singles First Round match on Day 3 of the French Open at Roland Garros on May 24, 2022, in Paris, France.Adam Pretty/Getty Images

Denis Shapovalov is against the Wimbledon ban on Russian and Belarusian players, but he also disagrees with tennis’ governing bodies’ decision to strip the grasscourt Grand Slam of ranking points, the Canadian world number 15 said on Tuesday.

The men’s ATP and women’s WTA last week took away ranking points from Wimbledon after its organisers decided to exclude players from Russia and Belarus in the wake of Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.

Ranking points determine a player’s ability to enter tennis events and receive seedings, so stripping them from Wimbledon effectively reduces the event to an exhibition tournament.

Shapovalov, whose mother is from Ukraine and whose father is from Russia, reached the semi-finals at Wimbledon last year.

He will be one of many players to be impacted by their inability to defend the points they earned last year at Wimbledon and will drop down the rankings.

“I don’t agree with either,” the 23-year-old former world number 10 told reporters after his first-round exit from the French Open. “I think first of all, if you have a pro competition, everybody should be competing.

“I completely understand the politics and the situation they’re in. But again, if you have a tennis tournament that’s supposed to have the best athletes in the world, it shouldn’t matter where you’re from.

“I also don’t agree with the ATP to take out all the points. The most guys it’s affecting are the guys in the top rankings.”

Japan’s four-time major champion Naomi Osaka said on Monday that she was “not 100% sure” of playing Wimbledon without the ranking points.

Shapovalov said most of the players were not consulted before the decision and wished the ATP had not taken all points away from the tournament.

“It’s difficult. I think they could have gone with it a different way, maybe keep 50% like they have in the past or some kind of fairness,” he said.

“It’s difficult for the players when you don’t have a chance to defend and especially on a surface like grass where it (the season) is already so short and the players that play well on that surface they don’t have that many opportunities to make points, so you take a huge chunk of it out, it’s super difficult for players.”

Russian Andrey Rublev said Wimbledon broke an agreement with the ATP over players’ participation at the major and the world number seven implored the men’s tour and the grasscourt tournament’s organizers to come together to save the sport.

“When you have a deal, you cannot break it. And they did it,” he told reporters. “When we have a toxic relationship like now, only the bad things can happen.

“Even if, I don’t know, Wimbledon, they go together with other Slams and try to create another tour, it will only destroy tennis.” (Reporting by Sudipto Ganguly; Editing by Hugh Lawson and Toby Davis)

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Scouting takeaways from the Memorial Cup: Mason McTavish is NHL ready –



The host Saint John Sea Dogs defeated the Hamilton Bulldogs 6-3 on Wednesday night to claim the 102nd the Memorial Cup. Although the tournament was played much later than usual due to the pandemic, it was fantastic to see the event being hosted in one of the most enjoyable CHL cities in Canada.

If you haven’t traveled to the east coast of Canada, I recommend adding Saint John, Moncton, Halifax, Charlottetown, and Cape Breton to your bucket list of CHL cities to visit in the future. If you enjoy seafood, great music, and the occasional adult beverage, Maritimers know how to throw a party!

With the Memorial Cup behind us, there are no more major events between now and the NHL Draft next week. With summer upon us, here are some players who caught my eye over the course of the tournament:

Drafted by NY Islanders, fifth round (152nd overall) in 2020.

Dufour had a breakout year in the regular season scoring 56 goals and 116 points in 66 games and then was named MVP of the QMJHL. He was also named MVP of the Memorial Cup after scoring seven goals and eight points in four games played.

Not every prospect develops the same way. Some are pro ready earlier than others. Dufour is an example of a player who has been polarizing over the years. He’s been traded several times in the Q and never seemed entirely comfortable with his surroundings until this year.

The 6-foot-3, 204-pound winger has a pro release. There is no question he knows how to score goals. He has a heavy, accurate shot that beats goalies from range. His size is also a plus in the hard areas when extending plays and distributing in traffic. His skating needs to improve another 20 per cent for the NHL game, though. Will he be Arthur Kaliyev or Matthew Strome at the next level?

Dufour’s development path has been a winding road, but he deserves credit for a great season. Hopefully this is the start of great things in the future.

Undrafted free agent signing by Montreal in 2021.

Full disclosure: I have a scout’s crush on Arber. How can you not? This is a player who was a free agent when he made the Kitchener Rangers. He wasn’t drafted by an NHL team, but earned a contract from Montreal after a strong showing at their training camp in 2021. He is the poster player for perseverance and character.

Arber is a big, strong, two-way defenceman. He’s 6-foot-4, 205 pounds, mobile, tough, and he moves the puck efficiently to chip in with some secondary offence.

At the Memorial Cup Xhekaj’s game reminded me a lot of Ben Chiarot (when he was with the Habs and playing at his best). He was used in all situations, contributed five assists in five games, and played with an intimidating presence.

Montreal has found a potential NHL defenceman for free. I’m looking forward to monitoring Arber’s development at the pro level. We already know he’s going to put in the work to reach his goal.

Drafted by the St. Louis Blues, first round (26th overall) in 2020.

The kind of player scouts describe as a “swiss army knife.” Jake does a bit of everything and can play up and down the lineup.

He only scored one goal in three games at the Memorial Cup. The group looked like it ran out of gas as a team. However, my takeaway on Neighbours is still positive. He emptied the tank every time he hit the ice and gave the Oil Kings all he had. He played fast and was involved physically. Neighbours is a tenacious forward who projects to be a second- or third-line NHL player on a good team. The Oil Kings could have used more offence off his stick last week, but there is no question he played with passion and compete.

Drafted by the Anaheim Ducks, first round (third overall) in 2021.

For those who expected even more from McTavish at the Memorial Cup, consider his hockey journey in 2021-22: McTavish played games for Anaheim (NHL), San Diego (AHL), Team Canada (Olympic Games), Peterborough (OHL) and Hamilton (OHL).

I’m not sure if the kid is collecting air miles or hotel points, but he should have earned some free nights and flights with all of his travel this past season.

He emptied the tank at the Memorial Cup. After a bit of a slow start, he went to another level in the semis and final. He gave opponents all they could handle in the hard areas and showed off his quick stick and puck skill. McTavish ended the tournament with six goals and eight points. He’s pro ready and should get full time NHL minutes with the Ducks next season.

Drafted by the Dallas Stars, first round (30th overall) in 2020.

When I was the Director of Scouting with the Florida Panthers I travelled to Shawinigan to see Mavrik play in the fall of 2019. Our regional scout, Dillon Donnelly, had taken a shine to Bourque early that season and believed in his compete and skill. Bourque suffered an injury that night and ended up in the stands halfway through the game. Between the second and third period we spoke with Bourque. I can’t recall the specifics relating to his injury so I’m going to describe it as an “upper body” injury. The kid stated to me he needed to get stronger so these kinds of setbacks don’t occur as he matures as a player. He told me he plays a skilled game, but doesn’t back down from traffic and competing.

Fast forward to this Memorial Cup, and Bourque plays the game the exact way he described to me in the fall of 2019. He left it all on the ice in the tournament, scoring two goals and seven points. He seemed to have the puck on his stick every shift. On the power play he was equal parts shooter and distributor from the flank. I love the way Bourque plays. He’s the kind of player who is willing to carry a team on his back.

Drafted by the Detroit Red Wings, first round (15th overall) in 2021.

Cossa is a big human. An athletic 6-foot-6 goalie who has the potential to develop into an NHL No. 1.

His Memorial Cup, for me, was uneven. Cossa came up with some big saves, but also allowed some goals he would admit were weak.

Goalies tend to take longer to develop. Cossa needs time to clean up some of his unnecessary habits. At his size there is no reason for him to play outside the blue paint of his crease. When he does, his size becomes less of an advantage when pucks spill to the side of the net and he has to travel further to make a save. His rebound control was off in this tournament as well. Lastly, when he went paddle down on wrap arounds or “stuff” plays he failed to get his stick in position or his pads tight to the ice.

Cossa is a Grade A goalie prospect who, it appears, ran out of gas at the Memorial Cup. When he is on his game, he’s plenty quick for his stature, keeps pucks closer to his body, and moves laterally with more precision. He needs time.

Drafted by the Montreal Canadiens, second round (48th overall) in 2020.

There was a time I was concerned about Mysak’s willingness to get to pucks along the boards and extend or make plays. He has always displayed solid skill. He’s not an intimidating player, but he’s not small either (6-feet, 180 pounds). He only produced two goals in five Memorial Cup gamesm but it wasn’t for lack of effort and involvement.

Drafted by the Edmonton Oilers, first round (22nd overall) in 2021.

Bourgault and Bourque fed off each other for Shawinigan. They have similar attributes.

Bourgault ended the Memorial Cup with two goald and seven points and was a threat off the rush and on the PP. I appreciate his skill. He’s quick off the mark and has the kind of skill to beat opponents one-on-one in open ice and tight quarters.

Drafted by the Vegas Golden Knights, fourth round (128th overall) in 2021.

Demek will have to work on his foot speed to have a chance at becoming a pro in North America. He does, however, have an understanding of how to play on the defensive side of the puck and he’s fantastic in the face-off circle. He won 47 draws in three games at the Memorial Cup. Teams want to start with the puck off face-offs, so he has some attractive elements that can contribute to team success.

Drafted by the Montreal Canadiens, first round (16th overall) in 2020.

It seemed like Guhle never left the ice in the tournament. He logged big minutes in all situations and contributed three assists in three games.

I did feel like Guhle was trying to do too much at times and his detail suffered overall. He found himself above the puck occasionally in his zone and forced some plays in the offensive zone. Having said that he is an elite skater who is highly competitive and can be deployed in a variety of roles. He’s a Grade A prospect who could end up being a top pairing NHL defenceman in time.

Drafted by the Toronto Maple Leafs, fourth round (122nd overall) in 2020.

I felt William played a low risk and efficient game at the Memorial Cup. His outlets were clean and he skated some pucks at times as well. He seems to be rounding into a two-way defence prospect who won’t jump out with an elite element in any one category, but could provide a responsible game defensively.

Drafted by the Calgary Flames, third round (72nd overall) in 2020.

There was a time I was very concerned about the high risk game that Poirier played. Defending and detail seemed to be an afterthought dating back a few years. Fast forward to today and I see a player who has scaled back some of his risk and plays with more detail, but still has the ability to create offence. He produced one goal and three points at the Memorial Cup. Poirier could end up being a nice find for the Flames.

The CHL season has finally come to an end. The last couple years have been difficult on the players, organizations, and the scouting fraternity. I could have written reports on many more deserving players from this tournament. Congratulations to the CHL and Saint John, New Brunswick for getting the Memorial Cup back on schedule.

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Andreescu, Shapovalov losses end Canadian Wimbledon singles hopes in 2nd round – CBC Sports



Canadians Bianca Andreescu and Denis Shapovalov were both eliminated from Wimbledon after suffering second -round losses at the All England Tennis Club on Thursday.

Andreescu, of Missisauga, Ont., dropped a 6-4, 7-6 (7-5) decision to Elena Rybakina of Kazakhstan, while Shapovalov, of Richmond Hill, Ont., fell 6-2, 4-6, 6-1, 7-6 (8-6) to American Brandon Nakashima on Thursday.

Rybakina fired four aces to Andreescu’s two, and converted on three of four break points.

Rybakina also won 80 per cent of her first-serve points, while Andreescu won 65 per cent of hers.

“I didn’t expect for her serve to be that good. She did play well, and she was getting to a bunch of balls. She was pretty solid, both sides. She played a really great match,” said Andreescu.

WATCH | Andreescu eliminated from Wimbledon:

Andreescu bounced in Wimbledon 2nd round

14 hours ago

Duration 2:04

No. 17 seed Elena Rybakina of Kazakhstan beat Bianca Andreescu of Mississauga, Ont., 6-4, 7-6(5) to advance to the third round of Wimbledon.

The 23-year-old Rybakina, seeded 17th in the women’s draw, will next meet China’s Qinwen Zheng, 19, in the tournament’s third round.

Andreescu, 22, advanced to the second round at the All England Tennis Club for the first time in her career after breezing past American Emina Bektas 6-1, 6-3 in Tuesday’s opener.

Shapovalov, seeded 17th in the men’s draw, committed eight double faults in his loss to Nakashima.

WATCH | Shapovalov falls to Nakashima in 2nd round:

Shapovalov upset in Wimbledon 2nd round

11 hours ago

Duration 2:11

56th-ranked American Brandon Nakashima upset 13 seed Denis Shapovalov of Richmond Hill, Ont., 6-2, 4-6, 6-1, 7-6(6) to advance to the third round at Wimbledon.

Nakashima will face Daniel Galan of Colombia in the next round.

In women’s doubles, Ottawa’s Gabriela Dabrowski and Mexican partner Giuliana Olmos, seeded third, advanced to the second round with a 6-7 (2), 6-3, 6-2 win over Belgium’s Yanina Wickmayer and Kazakhstan’s Yulia Putintseva.

Dabrowski and Olmos will next face off against Marta Kostyuk of Ukraine and Tereza Martincova of the Czech Republic.

Kvitova battles nerves in win

Meanwhile, two-time champion Petra Kvitova has plenty of experience on the grass courts of Wimbledon.

But that doesn’t mean everything is easy for her in southwest London.

She has spoken about being nervous when she comes to Wimbledon, and she showed some of those nerves on Thursday when she beat Ana Bogdan 6-1, 7-6 (5).

It was a straight-set victory, but the second set wasn’t straightforward.

Kvitova was leading 5-1 when Bogdan started to reel off game after game. Then Kvitova had a match point while serving at 5-4, but failed to convert that chance and then the game itself, eventually leading to the tiebreaker.

“Especially a few games on my serve, it was really long games, and mentally very tough,” the 25th-seeded Kvitova said. “I think maybe even this took some energy from my serve and I just couldn’t make it.”

She still pulled it out in the end, like she has done so many times in the past at Wimbledon. She won her first title in 2011, and added the second in 2014. But she was attacked in her home in 2016 and suffered knife injuries to her playing left hand. She later had surgery and needed more than five months to recover.

Last week, she won the fifth grass-court title of her career at a tournament in Eastbourne, England.

That should have given her plenty of confidence heading into this tournament, and this match.

“Somehow I made it,” Kvitova said on court. “I don’t know how, but I did it.”

Kvitova will next face Paula Badosa. The fourth-seeded Spaniard defeated Irina Bara 6-3, 6-2.

Sixth-seeded Karolina Pliskova, who reached the Wimbledon final last year, was eliminated on Centre Court. The Czech player lost to British wild-card entry Katie Boulter 3-6, 7-6 (4), 6-4.

The 25-year-old Boulter also beat Pliskova last week at a warmup tournament in Eastbourne for her first win against a top-10 player. She broke for a 5-4 lead in the final set and converted her first match point with a volley winner.

Boulter will face Harmony Tan in the next round. Tan eliminated seven-time Wimbledon champion Serena Williams in the first round and then beat 32nd-seeded Sara Sorribes Tormo 6-3, 6-4 on Thursday.

Top-ranked Iga Swiatek also advanced — and won her 37th straight match.

Swiatek defeated Lesley Pattinama Kerkhove 6-4, 4-6, 6-3 on No. 1 Court to improve her winning streak, the longest since Martina Hingis also won 37 matches in a row in 1997.

She will next face Alize Cornet, who defeated American player Claire Liu 6-3, 6-3.

Kyrgios, Tsitsipas set for battle

In the men’s draw, Nick Kyrgios advanced to the third round for the sixth time in eight Wimbledon appearances. The unseeded Australian, who reached the quarterfinals at the All England Club in his debut in 2014, beat 26th-seeded Filip Krajinovic 6-2, 6-3, 6-1.

It was a much easier match than the first round, when Kyrgios was taken to five sets by British wild-card entry Paul Jubb.

“Getting over the line in that first round was massive,” Kyrgios said. “Today I was kind of in my zone. I just wanted to remind everyone that I’m pretty good.”

Kyrgios will next face Stefanos Tsitsipas. The fourth-seeded Greek beat Jordan Thompson 6-2, 6-3, 7-5 on No. 1 Court.

Tsitsipas will be playing in the third round at the All England Club for the first time since 2018. He lost in the first round last year and 2019. His best Wimbledon result was reaching the fourth round in 2018.

Rafael Nadal also advanced, along with No. 11 Taylor Fritz of the United States. Nadal, a two-time Wimbledon champion seeded second this year, beat Ricardas Berankis 6-4, 6-4, 4-6, 6-3.

No. 17 Roberto Bautista Agut of Spain withdrew from the tournament after testing positive for COVID-19. He had been scheduled to play Daniel Elahi Galan of Colombia.

No. 12 Diego Schwartzman was also eliminated.

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Chris Boucher back with Toronto Raptors for 3 years, $35.25 million, agent says – ESPN



Chris Boucher is returning to the Toronto Raptors on a three-year, $35.25 million deal, his agent Sam Permut of Roc Nation Sports told ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski on Thursday.

Boucher enjoyed the healthiest season of his career last year, playing in 80 games after failing to clear more than 62 in each of the last two seasons. However, he saw his production decline slightly from a career year in 2020-21, shooting under 30% from 3 while playing just over 20 minutes per game.

Still, Boucher boasts a valuable skillset for a modern big, combining elite shot-blocking and rebounding to go along with an ability to stretch the floor. In 2020-21, he averaged 13.6 points while shooting 51.4% from the field and 38.3% from 3 on nearly 4 attempts per game.

Boucher had a brief stint on the Warriors to start his NBA career before Toronto signed him to a two-way contract in 2018. He’s been with the Raptors ever since, completing the second leg of a 2-year, $13.5 million deal last season.

Boucher got a late start in basketball and then tore his ACL late in his senior season at Oregon, so while entering just his sixth NBA season, he will be turning 30 in January.

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