Photo: Corinne Dubreuil
Fresh off a dominant indoor hard court season during which he won three consecutive titles and 16 straight matches, Félix Auger-Aliassime is gearing up for his ATP Finals debut beginning Sunday in Turin, Italy.
Thursday’s draw revealed that the 22-year-old, currently ranked a career-high no. 6 in the world, will be in the Green Group alongside top seed Rafael Nadal, U.S. Open finalist Casper Ruud, and American Taylor Fritz who is replacing the injured World No. 1 Carlos Alcaraz at the prestigious year-end event. Meanwhile, the Red Group features Stefanos Tsitsipas, Daniil Medvedev, Andrey Rublev, and Novak Djokovic.
During the group stage, Auger-Aliassime will face each player in his group and the top two at the end of those sequences of three matches will advance to the semifinals. He will open his title bid this weekend against Ruud. The Norwegian leads their head-to-head record 2-1 and Auger-Aliassime will certainly be looking to avenge the lopsided loss he suffered at the hands of Ruud in front of his hometown fans at the National Bank Open presented by Rogers in Montreal. His lone victory over the world no. 4 came in Miami three years ago.
Auger-Aliassime has lost his two previous meetings against Nadal, both times on clay, the Spaniard’s surface of choice. Still, the Canadian will fancy his chances on a quick indoor hard court. Not to mention that Nadal isn’t match tough coming in and the ATP Finals is one of the only major titles he has never won during his illustrious career. At the French Open this spring, Auger-Aliassime accomplished what very few have done before him and that’s push Nadal to five sets at Roland-Garros.
Auger-Aliassime has only played Fritz once on tour. The match happened in January at the ATP Cup in Australia, an event that Canada won, and ended up being a tight three-set triumph for the American.
Auger-Aliassime is the first Canadian man to qualify for the year-end championships in singles since Milos Raonic accomplished the feat in 2016. He and Raonic are the only two Canadian players to ever compete in singles at the ATP Finals. Regardless of his performance in Turin, Auger-Aliassime is guaranteed to finish his breakthrough 2022 season at a career-high ranking. Considering his current top form, there is no doubt he is one of the favourites in Turin. Fans can watch his matches on TSN and RDS.