Felix Cracks The Top 10: ’Hard Work Can Pay Off’
Felix Auger-Aliassime has been under the spotlight since breaking onto the ATP Challenger Tour aged 14. On Monday, the Canadian reached the next milestone on his journey when he cracked the Top 10 of the FedEx ATP Rankings for the first time.
World No. 10 Auger-Aliassime made clear early in the year that breaking into the Top 10 was one of his goals for 2021. And after reaching the Stockholm semi-finals last week, he achieved the feat.
“It is very big. It was one of my goals at the start of this year. I had to go from far as I was No. 21 in the world, so it wasn’t a given that I would finish inside the Top 10,” Auger-Aliassime told ATPTour.com. “It was also down to circumstances… But it’s tennis, it is what it is. For my part, I’m happy with the progress that I have made this year and where my level is at. I’m happy with this milestone is now behind me and I am a part of the Top 10.”
Felix first reached the Top 20 in August 2019, just after his 19th birthday. Some of his big accomplishments since include reaching this year’s US Open semi-finals and Wimbledon quarter-finals. He has advanced to eight ATP Tour championship matches.
“It's always good to check off goals on my bucket list as a young player. Of course, the Top 100 for the first time, then I got rapidly into the Top 20. For me, it was kind of like, ‘When will the Top 10 come?’” Auger-Aliassime said. “Sometimes it goes fast, other times it takes longer than you think.
“But I’m happy this year I was able to make it, especially after the US Open I had, and also Wimbledon. I felt like maybe, ‘I’ve got a shot at this before the finishing the year’.”
There has been plenty of pressure on the Canadian since March 2015, when at the age of 14 he became the youngest player to qualify for a main draw in ATP Challenger Tour history. The determined Auger-Aliassime has successfully navigated challenges in his path and emerged with big wins against the likes of Roger Federer, Andy Murray and Stefanos Tsitsipas. In Stockholm, he claimed his 100th tour-level victory.
“It was not always easy at different stages of my young career. I’ve had to talk to my team and to myself and see how I [would] deal with this,” Auger-Aliassime said. “But at the end of the day, it has always come back to what is important in the day-to-day, focussing on the present and I think I’ve been able to follow my path. I have kept it in my own rhythm.
“Sometimes it went faster than I thought, sometimes things took a little bit longer, but in the end good things happen I guess when you follow your plan and do good work. It’s good proof that hard work can pay off.”
Did You Know?
Auger-Aliassime, 21, is the youngest player in the Top 10 by more than 20 months. Casper Ruud, who turns 23 in December, is second-youngest.