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“I’m confident I can do it but at the same time I’m going to really expect the worst a little bit” – Auger- Aliassime
The Canadian will face either Australia’s Jason Kubler or Serbia’s Dusan Lajovic in the second round of the Madrid Masters
Canada’s Felix Auger-Aliassime will begin his European clay court season in Madrid on Friday against either Australia’s Jason Kubler or Serbia’s Dusan Lajovic. This will be his first event since the Miami Open in March du due to a knee injury.
Whoever he plays, Auger-Aliassime will have a match on his hand. Lajovic won the Banja Luka Open last week, scoring wins over world No 1 Novak Djokovic and Monte-Carlo winner Andrey Rublev on the way. Meanwhile 29-year-old Kubler, who started the season outside the top 100, is sitting at a career-high ranking of No 63.
The 22-year-old says he remains confident in his abilities, but he is not taking anything for granted.
“My ambitions are high but my expectations are low,” Auger-Aliassime said when asked about his chances at the Madrid Masters. “In a way I hope to do really well and I’m confident that I can do it but at the same time I’m going to really expect the worst a little bit or expect that everything’s going to be really tough. I think I’ll need my max focus and concentration from the first match. Every match is going to be tough, so if I can get through the early rounds and get some wins behind me, hopefully I’ll get far into the tournament and play well here.”
Auger-Aliassime, who is ranked No 9 in the world, says the enforced break has been good as he was able to spend time at home and also worked on his physical fitness.
“It’s been good, I’ve had time to stay at home a little bit, spend time away from the Tour and the stress of just playing matches all the time. It’s kind of just relaxed me mentally, but then also (I) trained physically. I’ve had time, which is rare to go in the gym and work on other things, work on things on the court that I wanted to improve, while doing the rehab for my knee at the same time. I think it’s been an important period. Hopefully that pays off in the weeks to come.”