Tennis Prose



Felix Flop Continues in Toronto

One of the major surprises of 2023 has been the bizarre struggles of Felix Auger-Aliassime. The one highly-touted future champion lost yesterday at the National Bank Open Toronto ATP 1000 to Max Purcell 64 64.

It’s the fifth first match loss in a row for the 22 year old who is ranked 12 in the world. Felix now has a 13-13 match record for the year.

It’s very unusual for a top ATP star player, in his prime, to post such mediocre journeyman results like Felix has this year.

Looking back at Felix’s results, the nosedive began after losing 64 64 to world no. 2 Carlos Alcaraz in the QF at Indian Wells.

After that he beat no. 81 Thiago Monteiro in Miami 76 76 then fell to no. 31 Francisco Cerundolo 26 57.

In Madrid Felix lost to ATP 40 Dusan Lajovic 67 in the third set.

IN Rome, Felix was beaten by ATP 77 Alexei Popyrin 57 in the third set.

In Lyon, Felix beat ATP 240 Pablo Llamas Ruiz and then withdrew before facing Arthur Fils.

At Roland Garros, Felix lost first round to ATP 130 Fabio Fognini 46 46 36.

At Wimbledon, Felix was eliminated in the first round by ATP 119 Michael Mmoh 67 76 67 46.

In Washington DC, Felix lost his first match to ATP 99 Yosuke Watanuki 67 67.

And then yesterday in Toronto to Purcell.

It’s not like Auger-Aliassime is playing awful, he’s losing every close, important set which indicates his confidence tank is empty and it’s time for some major changes to his team, meaning longtime coach Frederic Fontang and Toni Nadal need to be dismissed and replaced with some fresh, new voices and ideas.

The former world no. 6 and winner of four ATP singles titles is way too good of a player to be stagnating for five months at journeyman status.

Felix quotes after match:

FELIX AUGER-ALIASSIME: I thought I served better. It’s way different. We played in way different conditions and different opponent. I thought I served better in Washington, and I was far from that today. But, yeah, to be honest, it’s disappointing.

But I’m training well. Of course, I’m feeling good physically. So I try to think it’s just a matter of time. It’s tough with tennis. You get one chance from the first match. It’s not like you have set matches the whole year and you can go out and just try to play.

You have to win the first match, and I haven’t been able to do that the last two weeks. But I’m confident that once I’ll get a first win, then I can go further in the draw. It’s just that it hasn’t happened yet. It hasn’t happened for a while.

So I’ll stay positive and try to keep working well.

Q. How would you describe the challenge of trying to get in a rhythm when you’re not getting the matches that you kind of need to get into a rhythm?

FELIX AUGER-ALIASSIME: Yeah. Yeah, it’s funny because — well, it’s not my first time, even though, like, every year if you look, I mean, I’ve had — like, I don’t know, a month or two where things weren’t going my way. I was losing matches. But it’s part of tennis. It’s okay.

But every time it feels like the first time. I don’t know. Even though I turned 23 today, I still feel like when I was 18. You still have the same feelings inside, you know.

When you go on the court, you’re not so confident, and for some reason things are not turning your way and you’re wondering why, and you’re trying to stay calm, find solutions.

But I don’t feel like — of course, I’m a better player, but I don’t fell like, oh, I have all of the solutions all of a sudden and it’s just going to go away.

The reality is you need to go out there and show up. Like, don’t, you know, shy away and be scared. I need to — I don’t know how to say. Like, be a man and show up, you know, and not be scared to lose. And just whatever happens, try my best, and yeah.

Q. So as you mentioned something like this has happened to you before during your career, and I wonder if you could look back a little bit and talk about sort of what changed sort of at those times to help it turn around. Because like maybe a year ago I recall you added that Davis Cup tie to your schedule and the US Open and that seemed to turn it around for you.

FELIX AUGER-ALIASSIME: Yeah. I mean, there’s been different turnarounds. Last year, I had a stretch between Indian Wells and Monte-Carlo. Estoril I didn’t win. And then from Madrid on, I started playing better until here in the summer, until US Open. I was winning a lot of matches every tournament.

And it feels different every time. That’s why it’s tough to really go back. I mean, there’s different circumstances every time. And that’s behind anyway. So for me, it’s like, okay. Just focused on what’s to come.

You know, now the match is over. The best thing I can do is try to practice well. And the next day that I’m practicing, try to see what I can do better from this moment on.

But I think it’s pointless for me to look back in the past far because it was just — it’s different circumstances. I think I just need to focus on what’s happening right now.

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  • Scoop Malinowski · August 9, 2023 at 8:28 am

    I can’t think of another young star player with so much potential who has hit a rock wall like Felix has.

  • Scoop Malinowski · August 9, 2023 at 10:52 am

    Thought Caro Wozniacki looked really good in her win vs Birrell, like she never missed a month though it’s been about three years. Phenomenal performance by Wozniacki, apparently no longer afflicted by arthritis. Similar to how Venus isn’t bothered by Sjogrens.

  • Scoop Malinowski · August 9, 2023 at 11:03 am

  • Scoop Malinowski · August 9, 2023 at 8:58 pm

    Roger Federer has a new Uniqlo collection of sports wear coming out for US Open. Here is why he’s getting involved in designing: “We have such a great style history in tennis. René Lacoste and Stan Smith were wonderful tennis players. I feel it’s important to remember where we came from. And if I can make tennis look stylish, I think I should do that.”



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