14 Year Old Makes Emirates ATP Rankings History
Felix Auger Aliassime would like you to think he’s just your average 14 year old. His many hobbies include watching movies, playing the piano and discussing the harmful effects of ocean acidification and climate change on our ecosystem.
Ok, maybe that last part is a stretch.
But if Felix’s evolved intellectual interests off the court are any reflection on the mature approach he competes with between the lines, coupled with a ruthless shot-making arsenal, the young Canadian is on the path to being far from ordinary.
On Monday, the Montreal native began his ascent, making history as the first player born in the 2000s to earn a position in the Emirates ATP Rankings. Felix clamed three match victories in three days at the Challenger Banque Nationale in Drummondville last week, advancing through the qualifying draw with wins over former World No. 67 Chris Guccione and 2011 champion Fritz Wolmarans. Despite being forced to withdraw ahead of his first round match with an abdominal strain, he became the youngest player to qualify for a main draw in ATP Challenger Tour history.
“Obviously, my goal is to keep improving and I believe there is still a lot of room for that,” Felix told ATPWorldTour.com. “Lately, I have been working hard with my coaches on my transition game and my defensive shots. I know that if I want to succeed, I need to have an all-around game. I’ve also been focusing on improving my returns. I think that is one thing that helped me a lot last weekend against some big guys – my big serves.”
An accomplished junior player, Felix started playing tennis at age four when his father Sam, a tennis coach, first introduced him to the sport. Already well ahead of the curve, Felix’s tennis acumen is far beyond his years, and standing at 5’10” and 145 lbs, he has the firepower and pinpoint accuracy from the baseline to accompany it. A precocious talent with a first-strike attacking mindset, he produces an impressive shot-making display and is a swift, agile mover around the court.
Watch Highlights From Drummondville Challenger
Felix admits he doesn’t have just one tennis idol, considering there are so many thriving talents on the ATP World Tour to emulate. The right-hander looks up to Roger Federer for his all-around game, Novak Djokovic for his tenacity and the quality of his return game, as well as Jo-Wilfried Tsonga for his power. He also admires the contributions of countrymen and fellow rising stars Milos Raonic and Vasek Pospisil, who have created a burgeoning tennis culture in Canada.
“It is an inspiration to see how well Milos and Vasek are doing. It makes me believe that it is possible for me too. I also know that Milos trained as well at the National Tennis Centre in Montreal so it’s nice to know he was doing the same thing I’m doing a few years back.
“With the NTC program here at Tennis Canada things are going well. We have periods of time during the day that are dedicated to school and we have a teacher to help us. I feel like I’m well-surrounded and I believe it would be a lot tougher to handle if I was on my own. School has always been very important to me. My goal is to go pro, but I know that a lot of things can happen and so I have to keep all my options open.”
As for making Emirates ATP Rankings history, Felix remains grounded. With a shiny new singles ranking of No. 1257, the sky’s the limit for the teen, but it’s just one step in a long journey.
“It’s nice to know but I don’t pay too much attention to this. I was actually playing the Drummondville Challenger to go get experience and to help me in my development. The ATP points are just a bonus but I want to keep looking ahead.”
After all, Felix is just your average 14 year old.