Felix Auger Aliassime back to the beginning

Félix Auger-Aliassime: back to the beginning

ROTTERDAM | The defending champion of the Rotterdam tournament, Félix Auger-Aliassime, will play a whole new role from Tuesday where he will try to score a double.

• Also read: Watch out for the first round match!

• Also read: Félix Auger-Aliassime slips down one place

Auger-Aliassime, who defeated Stefanos Tsitsipas in the ultimate meeting in 2022, had made an important step in his career by winning his first title. His return to Rotterdam reminds him of very good times.

“I have good memories of the beautiful emotions I experienced last year with my sports team and my mother present,” he said. Coming back to a place where I played very well and beat good players means something good for me. »

Last year, Auger-Aliassime looked forward to this consecration after suffering eight consecutive finals defeats. “Having lost several finals took a huge load off my shoulders and it was a great relief to finally be able to win a final,” he said. Despite that first win, I knew the next final wasn’t going to be easy. My three wins at the end of the season weren’t easy and I approached those matches to take advantage of the opportunity because we don’t play a final every week. »

The double in sight

Can Auger-Aliassime sign a second consecutive title in Rotterdam, an ATP 500 category tournament?

“There are no guarantees, but I managed to put myself in a position where I could hope to win again,” he concluded. I’ve trained well, feel physically good and there are many good reasons for me to be able to defend my title, but it won’t be easy and I need some luck. »

The indoor hard court suits Auger-Aliassime’s style of play very well, he relies on a powerful serve and a very good forehand, his two main weapons.

“It’s positive to be in conditions similar to those in which I got my four victories and I have confidence in my chances of winning, but I always have to remain vigilant because there are no guarantees, summed up the eighth batter in the world together the latest ranking released on Monday. I’m confident but cautious at the same time. »

Of course, among the most serious contenders for the win is Tsitsipas, who is third in the ATP ranking.

Auger-Aliassime’s other potential opponents (8th) in the top 10 are Andrey Rublev (5th), Holger Rune (9th) and Hubert Hurkacz (10th), not forgetting Danill Medvedev (11th). If logic is respected, the Russian will cross swords with the Quebecer in the third round.

Improved print management

The 2020 finalist in Rotterdam against Gaël Monfils before winning two years later, does Auger-Aliassime feel extra pressure to defend his title?

“I’d rather be in that position of defending champion than any other. There are several good players including top 10 players and it is very difficult to win or reach a final. »

His trainer Frédéric Fontang believes that his protégé has made good progress in dealing with emotions.

“When you play at a high level and progress, it becomes normal to win, but Félix has made great strides in dealing with pressure. It’s normal to have stress or being in the wrong place, but you have to be able to turn the pressure into good fuel and not something that cramps you up. The pressure must allow you to sublimate and take on a challenge. »

Fontang believes there is an advantage in being in an environment you love and in which you have been successful. “Even if everything has to be redone, Félix had a good feeling here last year and he orients himself towards the middle. You want to be in that position to defend big points. »