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Now Felix Auger-Aliassime has learned how to win, he must target Masters 1000 success
Having figured out how to win on the ATP Tour, the Canadian will be chasing a first Masters 1000 title this week in Paris
He is the man in form at the end of the season. With three titles in three weeks – in Florence (ATP 250), Antwerp (ATP 250) and Basel (ATP 500) – and with 13 consecutive victories on the ATP Tour, Felix Auger-Aliassime has won more matches than anyone else since the end of the US Open.
In 2022, after losing his first eight finals, the Canadian finally won his first title in Rotterdam (ATP 500) before continuing his winning streak at the end of the year with three new trophies. This is an important milestone for the 22-year-old.
Long considered “cursed”, Auger-Aliassime finally clicked this season and now knows how to win titles on the ATP circuit. This is an big first step but he will now have to apply the same recipe at the highest level. A winner in the ATP 250 and 500, the Canadian has never yet managed to reproduce this kind of performance in the Masters 1000.
A brilliant performance in 2019, then nothing more
Auger-Aliassime sent a strong message to the tennis world at the Miami Masters in 2019. At just 18, he became the youngest player in the history of the tournament to reach the semi-finals, losing out to John Isner. But since then, the Montreal native has not reached the last four again in a Masters 1000.
His best results are quarter-finals in Madrid, Rome, Montreal and Cincinnati, all in 2022. In the Masters 1000s, Felix Auger-Aliassime is still too inconsistent. His ratio in this category of tournament is narrowly positive this year (8 wins, 7 losses), matching that of his entire career (30 wins, 29 losses).
When asked about his results in Masters 1000 tournaments by Tennis Majors during this year’s Open 13 after the first big series of his career (quarter at the Australian Open, first title in Rotterdam and final in Marseille), Felix Auger-Aliassime was aware that he needs to do better at the highest level, but also knows that he has to be patient.
“I have to make strategic scheduling choices now that I have won at the ATP 500 level,” he said. “I want to play better than last year in the Masters 1000. Three years already, time flies but I have no regrets. I wouldn’t change anything I’ve done. I never ask myself if I’m happy with the way I’m progressing. All I want at the end of my career is to have no regrets.
I have no regrets. Whatever happens will happenFelix Auger-Aliassime
“My ranking evolves with my level of play,” he said. “I’ve never had a worse year than the last. I would have liked to win all the matches and all the finals, but in life you don’t always get what you want. I have zero regrets, I always made the effort, I always stayed true to myself, every day, I have no regrets, Whatever happens will happen.
“Every place is really hard to take now, every player in front of me is a great player. I have my place among the best, I am convinced of it. When everything is aligned, when I am well physically, emotionally, tennis-wise, I can compete with anyone. I still hope to go a little higher. When I come back to Marseille in 2023, I hope to be in the five.”
Auger-Aliassime now among favourites in Paris
For the first time in his young career, Auger-Aliassime will enter a Masters 1000 tournament as a serious contender for victory, or even as a favourite. Unbeaten in 13 matches, the Canadian is the man to beat at the Rolex Paris Masters.
He will start the tournament on Wednesday against Mikael Ymer, ranked 74th in the world. The start of a week that could see him change dimensions if he wins on Sunday, but the road to the top is still long.