“I think what hurt so much this time was just that I felt like the game is there and it’s possible to go and play for the trophy,” Shapovalov said on Friday evening.
“It’s a feeling I’ve never had before, so that’s why it just hurt so much. I felt like I was outplaying Novak in parts of the match. If you’re outplaying Novak, you can beat anyone.
“It just hurt a lot… It’s been a lot of pressure, a lot of mental fatigue. Like, it all kind of spilled out on the court before I could control myself,” said the Canadian No. 10 seed.
Shapovalov had been growing in confidence throughout the fortnight, and he battled past two-time champion Andy Murray as well as eighth seed Roberto Bautista Agut of Spain and 25th seed Karen Khachanov of Russia to clinch his best Grand Slam result to date.
But up against Djokovic, who is going for his third consecutive Wimbledon crown, he came up just short in the decisive moments.
However, Shapovalov said there were a lot of lessons learnt from the contest.
“It’s almost good to have a little bit of a taste, because it just makes me want it that much more going into the next Slams and into the future. Now I know exactly what I’m capable of and where my game can be at. Also, the things that I can improve, too, to beat Novak next time or go one step further.”
Shapovalov said that after seeing his emotions after the match, Djokovic came up to him in the locker room and gave encouraging words.
“He just told me he knows how difficult it is for me right now. He told me that everything will come. For me, it’s big coming from someone like him. He doesn’t have to do this. It just shows the type of person he is. It’s just really nice for someone like me to hear from him.
“I have tremendous respect for him. He’s definitely for sure one of the greatest players of all time. It’s awesome to hear those words from him.”