Felix Taking Flight: The Rapid Ascent Of Auger-Aliassime
One year ago, Felix Auger-Aliassime was an intriguing prospect, but not yet proven. Then 17, the #NextGenATP Canadian owned only one tour-level win and entered the first week of Wimbledon No. 152 in the ATP Rankings.
But rapidly, Felix has taken flight. And the teenager has an opportunity to soar even higher at Wimbledon, where he will look to make his mark in the coming fortnight during his debut at the grass-court Grand Slam.
Auger-Aliassime is now World No. 21, and he is well on his way to securing a berth in the Next Gen ATP Finals — to be held from 5-9 November — sitting securely in second place in the ATP Race To Milan. But the teenage sensation has proven that he can compete with some of the best players in the world, and he will have another chance to show it in London, where he is the 19th seed.
During Wimbledon last year, Auger-Aliassime played two tournaments on the ATP Challenger Tour. In Milan, he lost in the first round. And in Marburg, he reached the semi-finals. But since then, the Canadian has been on a tear at tour-level.
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Auger-Aliassime earned 31 of his 32 tour-level victories, claimed his first two Top 10 wins, and advanced to his first three ATP Tour finals, including one at the ATP 500 level (Rio de Janeiro). He made his maiden ATP Masters 1000 semi-final in Miami, becoming the youngest man to reach the last four in the tournament’s 35-year history.
On 27 May, Felix became the youngest player to break into Top 25 of the ATP Rankings since former World No. 1 Lleyton Hewitt in 1999. It took less than a year for the teen to go from prospect to star. Only former World No. 3 Stan Wawrinka has climbed more spots into the Top 25 over the past 52 weeks.
Biggest Movers Into Top 25 Since Start Of 2018 Wimbledon
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Auger-Aliassime was positioned well to crack the Top 20 at Roland Garros. But he suffered a left adductor injury the week prior in Lyon, en route to the final, keeping him off the terre battue.
"I was feeling great. And then during my semi-finals [in Lyon] I started feeling pain in my groin. I didn't expect it," Auger-Aliassime said. "But I'm at peace knowing that I'll probably be able to be ready for the grass."
It was unclear how quickly Auger-Aliassime would regain his form on the slippery surface after the injury, especially since he had never played a professional grass-court tournament before.
That proved no problem for the 18-year-old. Auger-Aliassime made his third ATP Tour final in Stuttgart, and then became the youngest semi-finalist at The Queen’s Club in 20 years, tallying a 6-2 record on the surface in those two events with impressive wins over Stefanos Tsitsipas, Nick Kyrgios, Grigor Dimitrov, Queen’s Club finalist Gilles Simon and grass-court stalwart Dustin Brown.
If that’s not enough, Auger-Aliassime does not have many points to defend in the near future. He defends only 29 points during Wimbledon, which, with 2018 Wimbledon points removed, will put him ahead of World No. 20 Matteo Berrettini and No. 17 Milos Raonic heading into The Championships.
Even after this event, Auger-Aliassime will have only 100 additional points to defend through the end of the US Open. All this is without Auger-Aliassime completing a single match in the main draw of a Grand Slam, where the most points are up for grabs. He lost in the second round of qualifying at this year's Australian Open.
The Canadian is ready to change that at The All England Club, continuing his rapid ascent.
Did You Know?
Auger-Aliassime has gone 8-5 in deciding sets this year. Previously, the #NextGenATP star was just 2-6 in tour-level deciding sets.