PRESS CONFERENCE: FELIX AUGER-ALIASSIME (l. Khachanov) 3R

Thursday, Aug 8

Thursday, August 8, 2019
K. KHACHANOV/F. Auger-Aliassime
6-7, 7-5, 6-3

THE MODERATOR: Questions in English.

Q. Overall what is your feeling after a match like this? Are you happy with yourself that you made it this far in a tournament in front of the hometown fans or are you frustrated that you let an opportunity slip away to go further?

FELIX AUGER-ALIASSIME: Right now mostly frustrated. But, you know, partially, yeah, I’m happy. I have to stay proud of what I’ve done.

For sure frustrated because it was a big occasion. There was a lot of expectations, pressure, you name it. I think I handled that well.

But to be playing in the end good and to lead in a match, to have a chance to win… It’s tough to see it slip away, but there’s reason for that. It just means that I still have things to improve to win these type of matches and to deal better with these type of moments.

When there’s a lot on the line, when you see the finish line, the nerves get to you. That’s part of my journey, I guess.

Q. You obviously dreamed about playing on this court. What was the experience like? Was it what you expected? More?

FELIX AUGER-ALIASSIME: It was probably, yeah, a little more. It was pretty amazing. I mean, the sound of the crowd, the people, the support they gave me was crazy. From the first practice I had here, then all the way to this match today was just crazy. It really is a dream come true.

The atmosphere in the tiebreak of the first set, at the end of the first set, was pretty surreal. I’ll for sure keep great memories of that.

Q. Your serve was a bit of a rollercoaster. It really won you the tiebreaker. First and second set some double-faults. Was it the wind messing with you or timing and nerves?

FELIX AUGER-ALIASSIME: Yeah, combination of things. For sure the wind didn’t help, especially in the first set. I just felt like the game when I was up a break, I double-faulted twice, felt like it was very tough to serve, even on the first serve. I think that’s why we kept breaking each other.

I stayed calm. Look, it’s tough for you to serve. It’s going to be tough for him, as well. Try to just figure it out. That’s what I did.

As the match went, I felt more and more comfortable. I think in key moments I was able to serve well. That was good. That gave me a chance to win.

For sure I’m facing difficulties on my second serve. I have to face it. I mean, it’s like you. You face difficulties in your work. I face difficulties in mine. What do you do? You go back to work and you try to do better next time.

That’s what I’ll do for the future, yeah.

Q. Talk about what was said at the net between you guys. He mentioned something about saying sorry for something he had done, sorry for beating you.

FELIX AUGER-ALIASSIME: Yeah, I didn’t know why, because for me everything went normal. I think when he got frustrated, I think it was because of the crowd. People were obviously getting loud, sometimes not the best moments for him, when he would do mistakes, or I had a lucky shot.

I think he just said when he got mad, it was nothing against me. Sometimes he was just frustrated at the crowd. That’s it.

Me and Karen get along well. There’s no hard feelings. He’s a nice guy. It was nice of him to apologize, but I don’t think he needed to. Everything was fair and with great sportsmanship, yeah.

Q. How do you analyze your match today?

FELIX AUGER-ALIASSIME: It was a positive match. There were good moments in spite of the difficulties and conditions because it was very windy for both of us. In spite of that, I had good moments in the end of the first set, the beginning of the second set.

Of course, at the end the loss is disappointing, but I was confronted with difficulties and I was able to overcome them. There were ups and downs. I think after those three matches, I can be positive. I need to keep building on what I need to improve. I will continue.

Q. In spite of the loss, this was a big week for you with a lot of emotions. What will you remember from this Rogers Cup?

FELIX AUGER-ALIASSIME: It’s good that I broke the ice, so to speak. But now it’s over. I can say the pressure was enormous. I can’t hide that. Everybody talks about it. It’s a big tournament for me. At the end I want to play well, I don’t want to be disappointed. There’s a lot of pressure.

But I learned a lot this week. I learned how to know myself better. I think it’s good for the rest of the season and for the following years. I had a good week here.

Q. Of course you had good moments in the past, and your career is just beginning. The stadium went wild, it was incredible, in the first set. I rarely saw a crowd like this for a first set here. Can you explain how you experienced this? Is that going to remain as a very good memory?

FELIX AUGER-ALIASSIME: It’s going to stay a very good memory. I never heard a stadium yell like this, sound like this, an atmosphere like this. It was incredible. At the changeover at 6-All, I could see the people there. I was raising my fist, and I felt energy coming up my legs. It was the first time I ever felt that. It was incredible.

Then there was the passing shot at 6-4. Of course, it makes me smile. I will have a good memory of this match because of those points.

Q. Is there someone you look to in particular in your team?

FELIX AUGER-ALIASSIME: No one in particular in my team. Sometimes my coach or my parents. My coach and my parents are the only people I looked at directly. But I still can see that the people are motivated. Sometimes they’re standing up. It’s incredible.

Q. What was the major challenge for you today?

FELIX AUGER-ALIASSIME: Well, all week I was able to win the first set, and in the second set each time I had some letdowns. I didn’t feel I was controlling the match, so the difficulty today was that when I was up, I don’t know what happened, if it’s him who played better or me that dropped my level. Every time I was up, it was difficult for me.

At the end, in the third set, he was just playing better than me. I had trouble recovering from the second set. So the day I will be able to recover from those situations, then I will be able to win the third set. But I think the key of the match was the second set because I had a break and I was not able to hold it.

Q. You say the important moment of the match was the second set. At a certain stage he started becoming impatient. Did you believe you had him?

FELIX AUGER-ALIASSIME: That was the difficult part. You feel you are up, that you just need to have three good serve games, and the end is close. Well, then you feel the pressure. That’s when I became tense. Sometimes it’s more difficult to be up than to be down.

I believe that with more matches and more experience I will be able to finish off those matches. But this is what is difficult about tennis. Matches are difficult to manage. Sometimes when you think you have the match in control, it escapes you.

Q. Before you were playing against the Canadians so the crowd was, let’s say, polite. Now it was another experience. Was it up to your expectations or above expectations?

FELIX AUGER-ALIASSIME: It was above all my expectations. Of course, it’s difficult to prepare for those moments. I had seen Denis play two years ago. But when you’re on the court, it’s totally different. There’s the history in the match. You’re the one on the court.

But it went beyond any expectations I had. What I received was incredible. I’m young but I never felt that before. I really want to thank everybody. It was very touching. It was incredible. I’ll remember that for all my life.

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