After a vacation in the Bahamas with his girlfriend, Félix Auger-Aliassime made a stopover for a few days in Quebec. We met him during his visit to the Tennis Canada facilities on Tuesday.
Despite quick defeats at the Wimbledon and Newport tournaments, the ninth player in the world was in good spirits.
In addition to granting a few interviews, he accepted a few requests for Tennis Canada’s social networks. Félix was equal to himself, even if his schedule is busier than ever.
If it bothers him, it doesn’t show. All this under the watchful eye of his agent, Bernard Duchesneau.
A few minutes earlier, he had the opportunity to train with his father on the central. He exchanged a few balls to get the feel of the pitch.
The Quebecer will not see this surface again until August 10, the day of his first game on Montreal soil. He is a calm athlete who answered questions from the Journal.
“This tournament is very important to me, says Félix Auger-Aliassime during our interview. In all honesty, after the Grand Slam tournaments, this is the tournament that I would like to win.
“The Masters 1000 are very important tournaments for players during the year,” he adds.
Despite the presence of several players from the world’s top 10 in the main draw, Auger-Aliassime will be the most popular player in Eugène Lapierre’s tournament.
Manage expectations and pressure
When he is on the site, fans will try to snatch an autograph or a photo from him. He will be welcomed as a hero by the fans at each of his matches on the central. The script is already written.
And the expectations are high. The main interested party is aware of this. However, the 21-year-old athlete is now well equipped to deal with this type of situation.
“Earlier in the year, I managed moments of pressure very well, especially during the ATP Cup or the Rotterdam tournament, explains Auger-Aliassime. At other times, I was less able to do it.”
“Week to week, you don’t know. It remains that I am the same player and I approach the matches in the same way. I try to give the best of myself. I always want to play well, but I don’t want it to be something negative. In the end, like me, people want to see me win. They want to see Félix have fun and have fun,” he continues.
A drawn table
Auger-Aliassime would like to go a long way in the Montreal tournament. On the other hand, he will not have a victory on a silver plate from his opponents.
The main draw will be very tough. It will be more so than Wimbledon for a specific reason.
“There are two top 10 Russians who were not present [à Wimbledon]Auger-Aliassime analysis. [Daniil] Medvedev is the best player in the world. When you don’t have the world number one in a tournament, it’s a game-changer.”
“Medvedev is the defending champion in Canada and we know how successful he is on hard courts. Daniil is still one of the favourites. Nadal is also one to watch if he stays in shape. There are also Carlos Alcaraz and Stefanos Tsitsipas to consider. The table is very strong here as in all the masters”, he points out.
A stop in Los Cabos
Auger-Aliassime and his team decided to participate in the Los Cabos tournament before the Montreal one.
This is a change from the last few years when he took part in the Washington event. However, he will be able to earn fewer points in the standings (250 instead of 500) in the event of a victory in the final.
“I always liked to play the week before the Montreal tournament to have a few games in my body and some benchmarks, explains Auger-Aliassime. It’s better than staying here and having eyes on me in practice. In a tournament, it allows me to be in competition mode and to be a bit out of sight. We chose Los Cabos, which has a weaker draw and a pass in the first round.
Auger-Aliassime will be one of the headliners along with Daniil Medvedev, Cameron Norrie and Diego Schwartzman.
Subsequently, he rented a private jet that will allow him to travel to the metropolis in a reasonable time.
Another proof that he didn’t want to miss the Montreal tournament for anything in the world.
A getaway to Quebec
Félix Auger-Aliassime made a jump to Quebec during his stay in the province. An important moment for the athlete before returning to the collar on the ATP circuit.
“I had not been to Quebec since 2020, says Auger-Aliassime. I went back to my childhood neighborhood [Ancienne-Lorette].
“I took the opportunity to show my girlfriend the school I went to when I was little. I also walked around the neighborhood a bit.”
“Just to see the house where I grew up and the academy [de tennis Aliassime], it was special. Quebec is not big. I saw a lot of familiar faces, people I’ve played with before and parents of players, ”he continues.
“It was good to return to the club [Avantage] and see that it has evolved. It was interesting to see that there is a certain belonging that remains.
He was born in Montreal, but he grew up in Quebec. Auger-Aliassime has not forgotten where it all began.
“These are the roots. I have some memories of Montreal. Tennis started when I was in Quebec at the age of 5. My first tournaments were there.”
“My first beautiful moments took place at Club Avantage. It brought back many good memories of going there. It was good to see the prospects who are seven or eight years old. It reminded me of the times when I was in their shoes,” he recalls.
Despite its international notoriety, the ninth racket in the world is still able to walk the streets of Quebec without being bothered.
“People are respectful. It goes well. People’s outlook has changed over the past few years. For example, I went to Old Quebec with my girlfriend. I got stopped a few times, but people did it politely. They always have good things to say. It’s the same thing in Montreal,” says Auger-Aliassime.
A party on the pitch
On August 8, Auger-Aliassime will be 22 years old. He does not know if he will be in Montreal for this special day.
What does a tennis player wish for when he blows out the candles on his birthday cake?
“Health for me and my relatives, to have good relations with them. At the professional level, I ask for success and to win as many matches as possible. It’s not the most important. I might be home with my family that day. Since it’s tournament week, there won’t be anything extravagant.”