October 5, 2022
Canadian Felix Auger-Aliassime works out on Day 4 of the BNP Paribas Open on the

Canadian Felix Auger-Aliassime works out on Day 4 of the BNP Paribas Open on the Indian Wells Tennis Backyard on March 10, 2022 in Indian Wells, Calif.Clive Brunskill/Getty Pictures

Félix Auger-Aliassime turned a long-awaited nook in his tennis profession by successful his first profession ATP Tour title in Rotterdam final month, in his ninth singles closing.

However the spark that changed into a flame in 2022 was lit on the BNP Paribas Open final October.

And it got here after a loss, a gap 6-4, 6-2 defeat by the hands of veteran Spanish lefty Albert Ramos-Vinolas.

It wasn’t that the 21-year-old Canadian misplaced, and even the seven double faults.

It was how he misplaced.

“It’s humorous as a result of as a lot because the wins are very significant, I really feel like that loss was type of a realization for me. I had simply performed rather well in New York [at the U.S. Open] and made the semi-finals. And I got here right here pondering, ‘Okay, that is going to maintain going,’ ” Auger-Aliassime stated Friday.

“It was like I let my guard down a bit bit – like I took a slap within the face like, ‘Hey, buddy, it’s not going to be really easy.’ ”

Auger-Aliassime stated he misplaced the primary set, after which it simply went south from there. There was no combating spirit, no attempting to in some way discover a resolution to show issues round.

Auger-Aliassime performed indoors in Vienna, Paris and Stockholm earlier than wrapping up his season. However that day within the desert, one thing clicked.

“My mindset switched a bit bit after that match. I had a chat with my workforce. And I had a chat with myself. I informed myself I can’t afford to play these sorts of matches, any extra,” he stated. “There are at all times little stepping stones in a profession, and that was a second I received’t neglect – that match, and the conversations that got here after that match.”

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Auger-Aliassime arrived in Australia for the 2022 season considerably reworked. Effectively, maybe “developed” is a greater description.

He received matches in opposition to gamers who had beforehand had his quantity.

And he made a deep run in his third consecutive Grand Slam match, reaching the Australian Open quarter-finals.

After which, only a few weeks later in Rotterdam, it culminated in his first title. The 21-year-old backed it up by reaching the ultimate the subsequent week in Marseille.

Auger-Aliassime was in a position to make a pit cease at residence in Montreal for per week, on his manner from Europe to California.

It was a palate cleanser in a manner that has grow to be more and more uncommon as he’s risen up the rankings. The dearth of time at house is one thing he feels now he might have underestimated; he was nonetheless so very younger when the choice was made to relocate his base to Monaco.

Tennis-wise, it’s no-brainer. The climate is significantly better. There are a variety of different prime gamers who stay within the space to apply with.

And when the ATP is in Europe, it’s a fast commute residence if there are just a few days between tournaments.

When he performed Marseille, he was even in a position to drive there.

However residence continues to be residence. Auger-Aliassime thought he’d get residence extra.

As an alternative, his household goes to see him.

So, per week within the acquainted did him plenty of good.

“I had obligations, but additionally private issues that I needed to do both with pals or simply being with my household – having dinner with my grandma, issues like this,” he stated. “Additionally, I used to be coaching within the morning on the nationwide centre. But it surely was so good to be again in Montreal and to see a few of the folks I don’t see typically.”

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Auger-Aliassime, the No. 9 seed, arrives within the California desert to play the BNP Paribas Open for the fourth time.

It’s the place he certified for his first profession Masters 1000 match 4 years in the past, when he was simply 17. He then defeated countryman Vasek Pospisil within the first spherical of the principle draw earlier than Milos Raonic defeated him within the second spherical.

This yr, as a match winner and a top-10 participant, he is available in with a really totally different mindset.

After a first-round bye, he’ll open play Sunday in opposition to both Botic Van de Zandschulp of the Netherlands or American qualifier Tennys Sandgren.

“I nonetheless know that in an effort to win I must play nicely. The important thing factors of my recreation – my serve, my forehand precision, my motion – all of that must be in place,” Auger-Aliassime stated.

“However right here at Indian Wells, for instance, I include very totally different ambitions than three years in the past, or two years in the past. I’m a type of top-10 gamers now. I’m a type of gamers who ought to be going additional within the match even when there are going to be robust matches even from the primary match.

“However inside me, I believe the distinction is that I are available in with extra composure, and extra internal perception and confidence,” he added.