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Wimbledon points removal added pressure, says beaten Shapovalov

PARIS (AFP) – Canada’s Denis Shapovalov said the decision to strip Wimbledon of ranking points placed him under extra pressure in his first-round loss at the French Open yesterday.

The 14th seed was defeated in straight sets by Danish teenager Holger Rune, leaving him with just two wins in four trips to Roland Garros.

Shapovalov pulled out of last year’s tournament in Paris with a shoulder injury, but returned at Wimbledon and reached the semi-finals before losing to eventual champion Novak Djokovic.

He stands to lose 720 points from his run at the All England Club after the ATP and WTA tours moved to withhold ranking points for Wimbledon in response to the tournament’s ban on Russian and Belarusian players.

“It’s difficult right now. I think it’s a little bit added pressure on me, knowing that losing a lot of points and not able to defend,” Shapovalov said following his 6-3, 6-1, 7-6 (7/4) loss to Rune.

“I knew going into this tournament the last couple days that it’s going to be very important for me to go deep here, otherwise it’s going to be awhile until I can gain some points in New York.”

Shapovalov added that he objected both to the ban imposed by Wimbledon and the decision to strip the points.

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

Shapovalov gave no indications as to his plans, but made clear his discontent at the lack of player input.

“No, nothing. Not at all. I think most of the time most players aren’t consulted,” Shapovalov replied when asked if he was part of any discussions over the ranking points issue.

Denis Shapovalov. PHOTO: AP