Félix Auger-Aliassime hasn’t planned a big blowout for his birthday on Tuesday. Just dinner with friends and some family time.
It’s safe to say that he would have preferred celebrating his 17th between two practice sessions at Rogers Cup. He was awarded a wildcard into the main draw but was forced to withdraw due to a left wrist injury.
At a press conference held on Monday night at Uniprix Stadium to mark the tenth anniversary of the National Training Centre, the Québecer had some good news.
“I think that I’ve healed well. The plan is to be back for the qualifying event of the US Open in two and a half weeks,” he said. “I’m very sure I can do it.”
“I used my wrist injury to train in the gym, to rebuild solid physical foundations—both cardio and legs,” he added. “I feel ready to play a tournament tomorrow but first I have to solve this little wrist problem. But we took the time needed to make sure the injury heals properly.”
As his friend Denis Shapovalov won his first-round match against Rogerio Dutra Silva of Brazil on Centre Court, Auger-Aliassime could only watch from the stands. In the past few weeks, he also had to withdraw from the Challenger events in Granby and Gatineau.
“Of course it’s disappointing,” he admits. “It wasn’t an easy decision to make but I have a team of very wise professionals behind me who have seen many injuries like mine. We know that it was the right thing to do given my young age and the fact that I have to stay healthy. There really wasn’t any hesitation: it was the best thing to do.”
At the media event on Monday, Louis Borfiga, great architect of the National Training Centre, couldn’t say enough about the rising star of Canadian tennis.
“Beyond tennis, he’s very likeable, very polite,” affirmed Borfiga. “With Félix, you want to invest a lot of effort because he reciprocates. I’m not referring to his talent because everyone knows he’s talented, but, with Félix, you just want to help him achieve his dream. And we’ll do everything we can to get him there. He’s someone I like very much. You know his parents raised him well. In short, I’d say he perfectly embodies the values that I would like Canadian tennis to convey. When we travel abroad, we hear only good things about Félix.”