Felix Auger-Aliassime enjoyed a strong season, reaching his first major semi-final at the US Open and cracking the Top 10 in the ATP Rankings.
Now, the 21-year-old is returning to action at ATP Cup in Sydney, aiming to carry his momentum into the 2022 season. The World No. 11 caught up with ATPTour.com to discuss his admiration for Milos Raonic, his love for Canadian nature and more.
If you could take one shot from any member of your team and add it to your game what would it be?
Shapo’s jumping backhand. I mean, it’s good-looking and effective!
Who on the team would most likely be late for practice or a team dinner?
Nobody’s late, so I can’t pick anybody. I’ve never seen somebody late on Team Canada!
Can you describe the personality of the other players in the team?
Denis [Shapovalov] is a jokester, you can see it, he’s funny, he brings a lot of emotion and he’s also very energetic and explosive when he’s on the court. Brayden [Schnur] is a calm guy, he’s very poised and mature. Steven Diez is very energetic and a funny guy, he’s very generous too, always ready to help and give a lot of himself. And we have our veteran Peter Polansky, who’s not with us unfortunately, but he’s the veteran of Canada, he’s played in Davis Cup, and again he’s very poised and calm, I’ve never really seen him get angry or aggressive, so I think that’s the best way to describe him.
Can you describe the first tennis club that you played tennis at in Canada?
It was a park in Montreal, Canada. That’s where I hit my first tennis balls, before we got the chance to play in a real tennis club. I just learned in public parks, like we see everywhere in the world.
From what I remember the quality of the courts wasn’t great but it was okay to play on. I was three or four years old, so that’s enough to play on. I still live not far from those courts, when I’m in Montreal, so it’s good memories to see those courts again.
Which Canadian players did you look up to when you were young?
Mostly Milos Raonic. I remember when he was coming up on the Tour and he talked to us, when we were 12 years old, with Denis and the guys when we were training at the National Centre. He came to talk to us one day in the gym, and he told us to keep working and keep our focus on the big goal. But now he’s 30 or 31, and he’s been around for a long time, and that’s a guy that, as a Canadian, I looked up to in tennis for sure.
Three things you love about Canada?
The open-mindedness, kindness, and generosity of the people.
If you were recommending the top tourist places to go in Canada, where would you recommend?
The nature is beautiful, I would definitely tell them to go to the West Coast, the Rockies, the lakes and the forests are absolutely stunning. Closer to Montreal we’ve got Niagara Falls which is beautiful, and then closer to my home, Montreal is just a great city that you can enjoy, that kind of has a mix between Europe and America. The old town of Quebec City also receives a lot of tourists every year…it was built in 1608 so a very old city that has a lot of history. So yeah, these 3 or 4 places are very nice.