By Richard Pagliaro | Sunday, November 13, 2022
Felix Auger-Aliassime spent the fall season raising the roof.
Bowing to Casper Ruud in his ATP Finals debut, the world 6 feels his back against the wall in Turin.
Auger-Aliassime, who took the court with an ATP-best 27-5 record indoors, did not earn a break point in 7-6(4), 6-4 loss to the third-seeded Ruud.
Given 22-time Grand Slam king Rafael Nadal and Indian Wells champion Taylor Fritz, who face off later today, are the other members of the Green Group, Auger-Aliassime knows the pressure is on now if he’s to advance from round-robin play.
“My back is against the wall, for sure,” Auger-Aliassime told the media in Turin. “It would have been better to start off with a win here. For Casper, I’m sure it’s a big weight off his shoulder.
“For me, I need to bounce back and play better, play a little bit better. I’m not far from playing well, but there’s a few things I can do better.
“I will try to use the day tomorrow to do that, to work on a few things, then see how it goes the next day. We’ll see who I play. They’re playing tonight. I guess I play the loser of this match. But, yeah, I’m ready for it. At the end of the day, yeah, wasn’t my way, but I’m ready for the challenge, for sure.”
The 22-year-old Canadian, accompanied in Turin by coaches Frederic Fontang and Toni Nadal, is winless in two prior meetings vs. Rafael Nadal, including a five-set Roland Garros loss last spring.
The ninth-ranked Fritz, who gained entry to the elite eight-man field after world No. 1 Carlos Alcaraz was forced to withdraw due to a torn abdominal, edged Auger-Aliassime in their lone meeting at ATP Cup last January.
Auger-Aliassime admitted he has been coping with a virus since the Rolex Paris Masters, but said the illness did not impact his performance against Ruud. “It was tough in Paris. In the fall you get sometimes a cold,” Auger-Aliassime said. “But nothing bad, you know? I had a few days to recover since then. It’s nothing that affected me today.
“Yeah, I’ve been dealing with a normal, little virus in the last few days, but nothing that bad. Yeah, like I said, nothing that affected today.”
Photo credit: Getty
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