First-Time Winner Spotlight: Felix Auger-Aliassime
At the ninth time of asking, Felix Auger-Aliassime captured his maiden tour-level title at the ABN Amro World Tennis Tournament.
The Canadian held an 0-8 record in tour-level finals before Sunday, but he produced a dominant performance in Rotterdam to overcome World No. 4 Stefanos Tsitsipas in straight sets for his first trophy.
ATPTour.com sat down with the 21-year-old right after he triumphed at the ATP 500 tournament to find out more about the significance of his milestone achievement.
Felix Fires Past Tsitsipas In Rotterdam For First ATP Tour Title
What does it mean to you to win your first ATP Tour title?
It is definitely a dream come true. It is something I have been working for and suffering for at times because we all know my story, having lost finals before, so this one is even more special for me.
How did you start playing tennis and what are some of your early memories playing the sport?
I started with my dad. He is a tennis coach and we started as early as I could remember, when I was about four years old. Tennis was always the main passion for me. [I had] the dream of becoming a professional and the dream of having moments like I did today… The memories I share with my family and current coaches go a long way back.
Can you describe your relationship with coaches Frederic Fontang and Toni Nadal?
Both are really important for me. Frederic has been the rock for the team. He is the leader and was able to build a great team around me and he is a real professional. I think he deserves more credit than he gets. He took me when I was 17 years old and has taken me to where I am today and we are not done. It is a really special relationship we have.
I think we took Toni to have that experience from the top of the sport and he built a lot of confidence [for] the team and normality to winning tournaments like this and reaching late stages at Grand Slams.
You are a focussed and dynamic player to watch on court. How would you describe yourself off court? Are you a similar character?
I would say I am. What you see on the court is similar to what you get off the court. I am quite simple with how I go about things. I know what I like to do and I am a very loyal person with my family and my team and people that are close around me. I like to keep it easy and have a good time. I know when to be serious and disciplined and know when to have a good time.
What do you consider to be your biggest passions outside of tennis and can you tell us a little bit about those interests? I know you are an accomplished piano player.
I love music. Not only playing, I haven’t played the piano in months. But music, in general, brings me a lot of inspiration because we travel a lot, so I listen to a lot of music. Not that I would be a musician myself in terms of creating music, but it is definitely an important part of my life. Also, any sport in general. I am a very active person. I like to watch and enjoy many different sports.
Canadian tennis is in a strong place at the moment, with Canada lifting the ATP Cup title. How important for you is it that you and Denis Shapovalov inspire the younger generation in your country?
We have been doing well. This journey started in 2015 when we won junior doubles titles together and from there it has gotten better and better, year after year. He has been able to do amazing things also in this sport.
I have been motivated to do the same and in the future we could have two Canadians regularly in the Top 10, which would be an amazing achievement for each other and for the country. To win the ATP Cup title was a dream. I know it inspired a lot of people back home.
This is a milestone moment in your career. How will you celebrate this victory?
I like to keep it simple. I don’t do anything crazy. I like to keep it with the people who have been on the journey with me, so we can really enjoy this moment together and look back at some good memories and have great discussions. We will go to a nice restaurant and enjoy some good food and then rest. The emotion I lived on the court will keep a special place in my heart for years to come.