Monday, August 5, 2019
THE MODERATOR: Questions in English.
Q. How much fun was that out there?
FELIX AUGER-ALIASSIME: It was good. It was real fun, yeah. It was very good. I mean, people showed up. People were great, you know, from the start.
No, it was good to feel the atmosphere. I had a great time with Vasek. Obviously he’s a good friend. But I thought we had some great moments. It was a good match.
Q. What does this say, you guys playing together for the first time, you play against a team that’s won three titles this year and won the French Open?
FELIX AUGER-ALIASSIME: Finals of French Open.
VASEK POSPISIL: Yeah, yeah, I think it was a high level. I mean, I thought we played well. I think we were starting to pick up our game a little bit towards the end.
It was unfortunate it got a little bit away from us. Also from my end, I would have particularly liked to have been sharper early on. I thought Felix played great the whole way through.
I think we just maybe ran out a little bit of time. I really felt we were starting to click well at one point there.
But, yeah, like you said, they’re a tough team. They played really well this year. Yeah, it was fun to play out there, just fun to be competing with Felix, a great crowd. Yeah, but unfortunately we couldn’t get the win.
Q. How does it feel to be playing here in Montreal for you?
FELIX AUGER-ALIASSIME: It’s unbelievable. I mean, it’s a dream come true for a kid from here. I mean, I came so many times to watch this tournament. I have a big memory actually of watching Vasek beat Berdych here. It was a big moment.
VASEK POSPISIL: Moment (laughter).
FELIX AUGER-ALIASSIME: That’s in my memory, for sure.
For me to come here now, receive that kind of support, it’s just unbelievable. So I’m really happy that I got the first match in and I’m really happy to compete here the whole week.
Q. What do you think it means for your Montreal fans to be able to see you here as well?
FELIX AUGER-ALIASSIME: I think it’s good, you know, for everyone, but also for the kids. I mean, I’ve got a lot of messages and kids talking to me how, I don’t know, they know my dad or they have seen me around before. I also see familiar faces, so it’s really nice. I really get that home feeling. I mean, doesn’t get any better, yeah.
Q. Vasek, Felix was 12 when you beat Berdych. Now he’s the face of tomorrow. When you hear that, what’s your reaction?
VASEK POSPISIL: That I’m getting old. I’m getting old (smiling). Time is flying by, that’s for sure. Yeah, it’s kind of crazy, 2013.
Well, I still feel young. That’s good. I’m 29. I think I still have four, five, six good years in me. But it’s pretty cool to see, like, the young generation coming up. I can’t believe Felix is 18, for a few more days at least.
FELIX AUGER-ALIASSIME: Yeah.
VASEK POSPISIL: It’s pretty cool to see. Yeah, the evolution of my career, too, right? It kind of creeps up on you pretty quickly. Things change.
But it’s cool to see, yeah. I’m excited to be part of the match tomorrow. Yeah, I’ll give my best. Felix will be tough.
Q. Felix, I know it’s doubles, but it’s a packed house on center court, just to get that experience today, how much do you think it can help you tomorrow to knock out some of the nerves?
FELIX AUGER-ALIASSIME: No, it was a great feeling. From the moment I got out that door, saw the people in the entrance, before getting in the tunnel, it was such a special feeling because I remember seeing great players walk there, walk past there. For me to finally walk through that tunnel was a great feeling, to be honest.
Yeah, I think we kind of broke the ice, I think both of us today. I think maybe that’s out of the way. We feel like we started the tournament already. Hopefully we can play a good match tomorrow.
Q. Felix, when you were young, obviously when Vasek had his big run, Milos had a big run, how much has Milos meant to Canadian tennis for both of you?
FELIX AUGER-ALIASSIME: He’s been great. For my part, I grew up watching him. He’s been great. I think he gave us a lot of belief that it was possible. I think for the country also it was great when he would play Davis Cup. He was a solid player, just like Vasek. I think these guys played well every time they play for the country. That was good to see.
Also further than that, I think they’re great people. I get along well with Vasek and with Milos. We can have great conversations. It’s just good people to have around in tennis.
Q. Vasek, can you appreciate with Milos, to see his longevity, how long he’s been at the top of the sport, what?
VASEK POSPISIL: Yeah, definitely. I mean, he’s obviously done a lot of things right over the years to stay at the high level. Yeah, we were rivals through juniors. We’re the same age. I know Milos extremely well. I think for sure his original push up the rankings definitely motivated me.
I came up about a year or half a year after him. I’m sure in some ways that was motivating. I think it had a positive effect on my career, as well.
So I think, as Felix said, he’s done really well. Definitely helped Canadian tennis, for sure.
Q. You had the treatment after the first set. How did things respond after the fact? How things are feeling now for you physically?
VASEK POSPISIL: Yeah, I mean, nothing serious. I just had a niggle this morning. I mean, it was affecting me a little bit unfortunately during the match. But then midway through the second set, it really released after the treatment. Kind of wish I had done something like that a little bit more maybe before the match.
But, I mean, in the end, it didn’t affect that much. I think for tomorrow I’ll be fine. I don’t expect it to be — especially the way it was feeling at the end of the match, it was 100% the last four games. I just wish it was the whole match.
Yeah, just small issues you deal with on a daily basis basically at this level.
Q. Felix, Kei Nishikori spoke yesterday about the pressure of playing in front of Japan at the Tokyo Open, how it wasn’t easy for him for the first three or four years. I think it seems like you’ve prepared for the fans here, you know what to expect. How can you make sure that you use them to propel you forward and hopefully get your first tournament victory here?
FELIX AUGER-ALIASSIME: I mean, you always think you’re prepared until you play. You don’t know if you’re prepared until you show up on the court, then play your match.
I think this week, like every week, I just tried to prepare the best I can, training, keeping my routine, just doing what I’m doing every week.
But I don’t think I’ve done anything different, except not spending too much time on-site. Try to go outside a little bit, rest, relax.
But, I mean, outside of that, for sure it’s different. I try to act like it’s another tennis match, it’s another tournament.
But for sure it’s a special feeling. There’s nerves, for sure. I think it’s all positive and very exciting.
So hopefully I can put, like, the pressure, the bad nerves away, and just enjoy my game, yeah.
THE MODERATOR: Questions in French.
Q. When you talked about 2013, was that match against Berdych the only one you say?
FELIX AUGER-ALIASSIME: That was the match I remember. I didn’t see the whole match. I saw the end. I saw the semifinal. I don’t remember if it was on TV or on-site.
I have good memories of that year. Vasek was rising in the rankings. He really broke through at that moment.
Q. At that age, what did this represent for you? Did you believe you would become a professional also? What was the influence of that?
FELIX AUGER-ALIASSIME: It was a dream. It didn’t seem I could reach it one day yet. I was very young. The dream seemed very far away.
But years went by and it came more and more reachable. But back then, in 2013, it seemed very far away. He was playing at a high level. I couldn’t imagine…
But when you see two Canadian players playing in the semifinals of a Masters, you think, Why not me, or my friend? It was positive.
Q. Do you believe the doubles was the opportunity to get rid of the butterflies before tomorrow’s match?
FELIX AUGER-ALIASSIME: Playing doubles is a bit different because we were playing as a team. Therefore, you are a lot less nervous. I was happy today to be on the court, to share the court with Vasek, to play in front of a stadium that was almost full.
I think it’s very important for each player to warm up or play a match on center court before their first match. I was able to get used to the court, and I think that was the important thing.
Q. You are friends with Vasek for many years. Is it difficult to see him as your opponent for tomorrow?
FELIX AUGER-ALIASSIME: Honestly, it comes naturally. In tennis, in the locker room, there’s a good atmosphere. With the Canadian players, we are able to make a difference between what is a friendship and what is a tennis match on the court.
Now we are friends. We will be less friends for two hours tomorrow. But after, things will be back to normal. It’s a good thing. What we both do is we play the best we can, we compete the best we can, and this is the best respect we can show for our opponent.