By Richard Pagliaro | Friday, November 4, 2022
Ace server Felix Auger-Aliassime exudes point-ending power.
Riding a career-best 16-match winning streak into tomorrow’s Rolex Paris Masters semifinals, Auger-Aliassime credits his tear with staying power.
The eighth-seeded Canadian converted his sixth match point dismissing Frances Tiafoe 6-1, 6-4 charging into the Paris final four for the first time.
It’s Auger-Aliassime’s first Masters semifinal since he fell to defending champion John Isner in the 2019 Miami Open semifinals.
— ROLEX PARIS MASTERS (@RolexPMasters) November 4, 2022
Once tagged a supremely talented shotmaker who couldn’t win the big one, Auger-Aliassime struggled to an 0-8 record in his first ATP finals.
Interestingly, he credits the work he did after a loss—his US Open second-round defeat to Jack Draper—with helping spark this “magical” run.
“After the US Open, I could practice. I went to the Davis Cup very early,” Auger-Aliassime said. “I trained a lot physically but also on the tennis courts. It pays off, actually. It bears fruit very quickly.
“I have confidence in my work, in my discipline, but we never know when it will pay off. It’s quite magical to see that it happens, and I’m really enjoying playing this way. I think I have reached a threshold that was during the quallies for the Masters. I managed to have consistency throughout the year.
“It’s very precious for a tennis player. It gave me a confidence boost, and I’m very satisfied where I stand right now in my career, and I hope to continue as much as I can.”
Empowered by an ATP-best 27-4 indoors record, Auger-Aliassime will take on red-hot Holger Rune in a rematch of last Sunday’s Basel final, which the Canadian won 6-3, 7-5.
Reflecting on his superb streak, Auger-Aliassime said defeating 21-time Grand Slam champion Novak Djokovic at Laver Cup in September—then watching the tape to understand exactly how he defused the former world No. 1—was key to his confidence.
Knowing what went right against Djokovic has helped Auger-Aliassime replicate it against the rest of the ATP.
“I thought about it after Laver Cup when I defeated Djokovic. I needed to know why I managed to win,” Auger-Aliassime said. “It was not just a good day, that I was in the clouds, that I managed to serve on the right wave. No, I needed to know what worked in my level of play to defeat a player like Djokovic at the Laver Cup.
“After thinking about it, when I saw what worked well, the improvements that I needed still to achieve, I managed to have structural confidence, concrete items. And I tried to continue to work like this with a lot of conviction.
“It’s true that we can do it on a good streak. There are still difficulties though. I managed to walk the talk and to make sure that it became real, and this is why I managed to be confident.”
— Tennis TV (@TennisTV) November 4, 2022
Of course, the fact Auger-Aliassime is serving with authority is a massive asset in his surge. Auger-Aliassime arrived in Paris with 818 aces on the season, second only to John Isner (865) on the ATP Tour.
Former Paris doubles champion Auger-Aliassime is aiming to ride this winning wave to his fourth straight title and maiden Masters championship in Paris.
“My confidence is based on concrete things,” Auger-Aliassime said. “First of all, I need to have discipline and preparation in the way I play. Each match I approach it in the same way.
“There should be both confidence but also humility because I may lose as well. That allows me to be ready for any kind of scenario, any kind of match that can unroll. I will continue with that same set mindset.”
Photo credit: Swiss Indoors Basel Facebook
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