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Auger-Aliassime: “Hopefully my name will be remembered”

  • Matt Trollope

A tennis player as prodigious as Felix Auger-Aliassime was always going to generate significant media interest.

The Canadian star has been the subject of many reporters’ pieces and has sat for countless interviews already during his blossoming career – so we asked him to imagine the opposite scenario.

He was now the journalist, tasked with writing a feature or making a documentary about himself. How would he tell his own story?

“Interesting,” he replied, considering this hypothetical.

TICKETS: Catch Felix Auger-Aliassime in action at Australian Open 2023

"I would tell how I grew up in the sport, the good moments, but also the difficulties you face growing up, playing tennis, the adversity. 

“I would include my family, and people around me, my team. All the moments we've shared, good and bad.

“Hopefully one day I could write something, or in the future (make) some sort of documentary or film that I think that people could enjoy, to see what the process is of a professional athlete, to grow into this sport and try to become the best player in the world. 

“It's not an easy task, it's a great challenge. But it would be interesting."

Auger-Aliassime is only 22, but already his journey incorporates the elements – success, adversity, family influence, dedication to improvement, and even the instinct to document his life off court – he referenced when outlining his storytelling approach.

That story started with his Togolese father Sam, a tennis coach who emigrated to Canada and introduced him to the sport at age five. Felix’s elder sister, Malika, was also an internationally-ranked junior. 

Developing his game in Montreal, Auger-Aliassime improved rapidly. Among the many good moments were a Roland Garros junior singles final at age 15, and, a few months later, the US Open boys’ singles title.

At age 16 he was already winning ATP Challenger titles. He reached the ATP 500 final in Rio in 2019; he was still a teenager when he cracked the top 20 later that year.

But his rapid ascent, and obvious talent, masked adversity – more specifically, the nerves he battled in high-stakes situations.

READ MORE: The rise of Carlos Alcaraz

In his first eight Grand Slam tournaments, he fell in the first round at five of them. He lost 15 of his first 17 matches against top-10 players, at one stage losing 11 in a row. Unable to loosen up and play freely, he lost his first eight ATP finals without winning a set.

His eventual breakthrough in Rotterdam in February 2022 was, understandably, emotionally-charged.

Surrounded by his mother and coaches, Auger-Aliassime wept as he video-chatted with his father after beating Stefanos Tsitsipas in straight sets in the final.

He described the victory as “the happiest day of my career” and revealed his prior 0-8 record in finals has caused “sleepless nights”.

Another team member – not present in Rotterdam, but who has had a profound impact – is Toni Nadal, most famously the long-time coach of legendary nephew Rafael.

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Nadal joined Auger-Aliassime’s entourage in April 2021; the subsequent period has been the most fruitful of the young Canadian’s career.

He has made enormous progress at Grand Slam level, coming within a point of the AO semifinals after reaching the US Open semifinals and Wimbledon quarters in 2021.

This year he scooped another three ATP titles, rose to a best-ever ranking of world No.6, and has won four of his past six matches against top-10 opponents.

With his ascendant profile and position in the sport, Auger-Aliassime recognises the power of his platform. During the Black Lives Matter protests of 2020, he shared a video recounting a story of his father as the victim of police racism.

He wanted to contextualise the frustrations and fear felt by people of colour, which had led to the global protest movement.

Auger-Aliassime continues to let fans in, through behind-the-scenes videos on his social media channels. 

He is also one of the players who agreed to be followed by a Netflix camera crew for an upcoming tennis series on the streaming service.

“Hopefully through my life, I've been able to share and to give what I can to other people. And to really leave a good message and inspire maybe in other ways,” he told

Felix Auger-Aliassime celebrates his title victory at the ATP event in Rotterdam, his first win in nine appearances in a tournament final. (Getty Images)

“And in terms of my tennis, hopefully my name will be remembered when we think about tennis. That's something that would be amazing for me. 

"My greatest passion, for sure, is tennis. Above everything, that's the reason why I play, that's the reason I picked up the sport in the first place. And I'm happy to say that. 

“I love what I do and I'm happy that I found something I love in my life. It's never easy for anybody to find something they love and to be able to do it as their work, let's say.

“So I've been very fortunate to be in this position now.” 

While yet to officially document his own story, Auger-Aliassime’s journey so far offers fascinating insight into all aspects of becoming one of the world’s best tennis players.

Given his current trajectory, even greater success seems well within reach.