Photo: Peter Staples/ATP Tour
Monday morning, Félix Auger-Aliassime held a year-end virtual press conference to look back on what was a unique 2020 season and discuss what lies ahead for him.
This year was a particular one for everyone, as the tennis season was put on pause for nearly six months due to the ongoing pandemic. In that time, the tournaments, tours and federations worked together to find ways to allow their players to come back to competing in a safe environment, something that did not go unnoticed by the players.
“I feel privileged and lucky that I had a chance to compete again this year and play the sport that I love. It was challenging at times and there was a lot of uncertainty as to if we would be able to play again. The ATP, the various tournaments and everyone involved worked very hard to bring back tennis.”
And while there may have been less tournaments on the calendar, that did not stop Auger-Aliassime from competing in 17 events, holding a record of 23 wins and 19 losses in singles and ending the season at no. 21 in the rankings. Some of his personal highlights for the year include reaching three ATP finals, playing in the second week of a Grand Slam event at the US Open and capturing a doubles title at the Paris Masters. When pressed about his top moment for the year, the young Canuck stated that his run to the final at Rotterdam was particularly special for him.
That is not to say that it wasn’t a complicated year for the 21-year-old. In taking on a big workload, he tried to balance the condensed calendar of events all while playing a lot more doubles matches. Going from the US Open to clay court events and not knowing what each tournament had in store, among other obstacles, made for a more difficult time in trying to plan out his schedule with his team.
“This year has taught me that there are things that are beyond my control and I have to embrace the challenges. Because of this, I feel like I have matured as a person and I am able to look at the bigger picture. I always want to win and do everything right, but when I think about the bigger picture, I can focus on being the best player I can be and where I want to go in the long-term.”
Looking forward to 2021, Auger-Aliassime confessed that there is still a lot of uncertainty surrounding the calendar of events, including the Australian swing of tournaments at the start of the year, but he is ready to take on the challenge.
“My objectives for next year include preparing myself for each tournament and trying go as far as possible. I am at a stage in my career where I play every tournament to win.”
In order to continue move up in the rankings and go on deep runs at tournaments, Auger-Aliassime stated that consistency and regularity is the key. Putting himself in situations to play the best players more often and getting to know their playing styles are areas that he has identified for the upcoming season.
Auger-Aliassime also took the time to provide an update on his charitable work with FAA Points for Change. Despite the season being put on pause for a few months, he was able to continue contributing to the cause that is very close to his heart. In fact, for each point that he won, money was donated for the education of children in Togo and the protection of their rights. He was pleased to announce that activities with this project will begin to resume this month and he hopes to one day be able to visit and see the great work that is being done.
As for now, the 21-year-old is back home in Montreal, quarantining after his busy end to the season. He plans on picking up his training regiment in the next few weeks and will be heading out to train at the Rafael Nadal Academy in Mallorca in December prior to heading to Australia for the start of the 2021 season.