The current crisis related to the COVID-19 pandemic touches millions of people worldwide and tennis players are no exception.
Yesterday, Félix Auger-Aliassime took advantage of his time off from tennis to meet (virtually) with members of the media to talk about the challenges that he faces, but also the positives that have come out of this crisis.
Always with a positive outlook, the Quebec native is focusing on what he knows and is trying to put aside the rumors that are circulating about the resumption of tennis.
His challenge? Patience, of course, but also acceptance of the situation.
“When you miss something, you have to accept the situation. I try to stay connected to the game by analyzing matches with my coaches once or twice a week, among other things,” he noted, adding that nowadays there are several ways to stay updated and in touch with people.
In Montreal with his family, the young player is taking the opportunity to rediscover activities that he was no longer used to doing because of his travel schedule during the year.
“I rediscovered many things that I did in my childhood that make me feel very good, such as family dinners with long discussions at the table, board games or even playing the piano with my mom. It may sound trivial, but to me it makes all the difference.”
Confined to his home, Auger-Aliassime trains in his backyard. In a livestream, he joked with his compatriot Milos Raonic, mentioning that by focusing on his upper body, he would return to the circuit much more ripped.
All jokes aside, Auger-Aliassime, who has been building muscle building for the past few weeks among other things, is doing everything in his power to come back stronger when competition resumes and will work on his explosiveness before tournaments are set resume.
— Félix AugerAliassime (@felixtennis) April 6, 2020
“I try to keep my routine; I have a training plan in place with my team. It will be difficult to get out of these habits when play resumes. You have to structure everything to avoid a burnout,” he added.
Despite the uncertainty surrounding professional tennis activities, the 19-year-old is confident that when he returns to playing, he will be able to continue his streak and that is why he continues to train.
“My career is just beginning, I am young. I prefer to have had that strong start to the season and to have been able to play well before this extended hiatus. There is no doubt that upon my return, I will still have a chance to compete just as well.”
Auger-Aliassime has not forgotten his next goal: to win his first ATP title.
Meanwhile, the Canadian plans to return to Monaco, his place of residence, when the situation allows. His coach Frédéric Fontang, who is currently in the southwest of France, as well as Nicolas Perrotte, his physical trainer, will join him to better supervise his training.
His fundraising campaign
Last February, Auger-Aliassime launched a fundraising campaign for a program aimed at children in need in Togo, his father’s country of origin, by donating $5 per point won in each of his matches.
En temps de crise, la solidarité est plus importante que jamais. Je suis heureux de vous annoncer que les points que j'ai gagnés en 2019 seront comptabilisés dans le cadre du projet #FAAPointsForChange, du @BNPPARIBASOPEN à l’@OpenParcARA. #Wereallinthistogether
— Félix AugerAliassime (@felixtennis) March 24, 2020
However, due to the pause in the season, he and his team are studying various possibilities to continue helping these young people.
When asked why he was so attached to this project, Auger-Aliassime recounted a defining moment that took place when he was 13 years old.
“We were in the car and we left the capital to go to my father’s village, which is 300 km to the North. We stopped on the road to buy bread that my grandmother adores. There was a little girl running to the car and there was a family trying to sell us bread. The little girl reached out to me for a little money. My father gave me some. At the time, I remember the amount was about five cents. I saw the joy in the eyes of this little girl. I was quite moved. I told myself that it was a little sad and unusual that these five cents had made a difference whereas for us, we would see five cents on the ground and we would not event bend over to pick it up. It moved me and I remember that it was one of the moments among so many that have stayed with me.”