If this title, shared with his compatriots Denis Shapovalov, Brayden Schnur and Steven Diez, does not officially count for the first ATP title of his career, the 21-year-old prodigy savored it to the full.
It’s a lot of pride for me to win a tournament like this, even if it’s still young, explained Auger-Aliassime in an interview with Radio-Canada Sports. It’s a tournament that brings together the best players in the world and it’s going to become a big competition like the Davis Cup. To have been able to put the name of Canada on this trophy and to have played my part, it gives me a lot of pride.
At 21, Félix Auger-Aliassime intends to crystallize his place in the world top 10 for good. At the dawn of the Australian Open, the Quebecer is 9th in the world, the highest rank since his arrival on the world circuit.
Above all, he wants 2022 to be the year of his first title, a rare feat of arms that still eludes him. His almost flawless performance in the ATP Cup final against the Spaniard Roberto Bautista Agut has something to encourage him.
Yes, it will help me for the next finals, says Auger-Aliassime. The first finals, I did not always experience them well, but the last ones, I feel that I play the level that I have to play.
» I feel like I’m the player I need to be in those moments, moments that I love. When I was younger, finals were never a problem for me. I feel that’s where I can go deep inside myself. »
This victory confirms some things for me and it brings interesting benchmarks on how to close a service match well. I managed to manage moments well, so that bodes well.
He will begin his journey in Melbourne on Tuesday against Finland’s Emil Ruusuvuori, 90th in the ATP, semi-finalist last week at the ATP 250 tournament in Melbourne. This will be the first duel between the two players on the ATP Tour.
In 2021, Auger-Aliassime lost in the fourth round of the tournament against the surprising Russian Aslan Karatsev. The Quebecer nevertheless led two sets to zero, before losing at the limit of five sets.
This time, it is the Russian Daniil Medvedev whom he hopes to face. The second racket in the world and the Canadian nugget are in the same portion of the table and could find themselves in the quarterfinals, if, of course, the two players win their first four games. Which is far from certain.
At the ATP Cup, and a few months earlier in New York, Medvedev proved too strong for his rival. The two trained together in the very short offseason.
» I was able to play with him and with Alexander Zverev to allow me to situate my game in relation to them and to see what strategies I could put in place to disturb them. I try to see what works and what doesn’t. »
In the ATP Cup semi-finals, Medvedev seemed to have the answer and won 6-4, 6-0 in just over an hour.
He is tall, he serves well and makes few mistakes, he changes the speed of exchanges, he is the prototype of the modern player and it is very complicated to play against him, analyzes the Quebec tennis player. There comes a time when you can’t find any more weaknesses, no more holes in his game, so the simple move becomes complicated in your mind and you start asking yourself a lot of questions.
Against Auger-Aliassime, for example, Medvedev waited for his rival’s serve far behind the service line. To the point where the average fan in his living room could legitimately yell at him through the screen to attempt a drop serve under the spoon. The idea is not stupid, but not brilliant either.
From the outside, you think « why wouldn’t we do that », but I’m not used to doing it and not necessarily comfortable. You have to play according to what you like and not change everything in relation to him. If it continues like this and I can’t find any solutions, maybe I’ll use it one day.
It’s true that there are things to explore against him, adds the 21-year-old athlete. As long as losing like last time, better try things and try to mess him up.
Auger-Aliassime in a Netflix series?
The digital platform Netflix has given a second wind to the popularity of Formula 1 in recent years. Series Drive to Survive shows behind the scenes of an F1 season and everything the average fan could not understand.
The digital giant announced Friday its intention to produce a series of its kind following the 2022 season of the ATP and WTA circuits.
Félix Auger-Aliassime has already had discussions with the team behind the project and hopes to be part of it.
I think it’s a good thing that tennis needed, analyzes the Quebecer. It will be interesting for fans and to conquer new amateurs who are not fans tennis at the base and who could get to know certain players and become attached to their personality.
It’ll be good to show behind the scenes of the slightly surreal life we lead. The fact that we travel the globe almost non-stop all year round, the pressure we feel in tournaments and the rivalries that are created. There will be a lot to discover in a series like this.
Who knows, with any luck, Netflix will be behind the scenes of Félix Auger-Aliassime’s first title on the ATP circuit.