A 19-year-old Canadian tennis player stumbled through an awkward attempt at a rap after beating Marin Cilic in straight sets

  • Denis Shapovalov celebrated an Indian Wells win by performing a pre-written rap for the spectators at the Tennis Garden in California.
  • It was the first time Shapovalov had ever rapped in front of a crowd and he said he was more nervous spitting bars than he was during Tuesday’s straight sets win against Marin Cilic.
  • Shapovalov takes on the unseeded Polish tennis player Hubert Hurkacz in a Round of 16 match on Wednesday, and will proceed to the quarter-final should he win once again.

Denis Shapovalov celebrated a BNP Paribas Open victory over Marin Cilic on Tuesday by grabbing a microphone and rapping for everyone in the crowd at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden in California.

Shapovalov is no stranger to big wins, having beaten Rafa Nadal and Juan Martin del Potro when he was just 17. He needed just 76 minutes to defeat Cilic, the 2014 US Open winner, in straight sets 6-4, 6-2.

Tennis.com dubbed Shapovalov’s performance Andy Roddick-like, as he hit a “screamer” of a slick backhand shot to break Cilic when 3-2 up in the second set, showing he had the confidence to attempt ambitious shots in the big moments of a match.

Shapovalov went on to win with ease. With a huge smile on his face he grabbed a mic and attempted to spit pre-written bars. However, it did not all go to plan.

Read more: A viral illness at Indian Wells is wiping out big-name tennis players like Serena Williams and Alexander Zverev

Shapovalov stumbled over his opening lines, seemed to forget the rap entirely, and had to run to his gym bag at court-side to dig out his mobile phone where he had stored the lyrics.

With his phone in hand, he was able to complete his rap, which you can watch right here:

“Maybe once I’m done with tennis it’s a little side job, I don’t know it’s just a hobby I have,” Shapovalov told Tennis TV after the win.

“That was my first live performance, I was so tight but I got through it. I think I was more nervous about the rap than the match, I swear!”

Shapovalov takes on the unseeded Polish tennis player Hubert Hurkacz in a Round of 16 match on Wednesday. The winner proceeds to the tournament’s quarter-final later in the week.

It is unclear whether he has pre-written raps for every match.

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