Felix: 'The Important Thing Is To Keep Going'
One day after playing what he called one of the best matches of his career, Felix Auger-Aliassime's Montreal campaign came to a disappointing end in Friday's quarter-finals. Playing in the city of his birth, the Canadian was swept off Court Central 6-1, 6-2 by fourth seed Casper Ruud.
"It's super disappointing to lose any tournament like this, and especially here," Auger-Aliassime said in his post-match press conference, giving full credit to his opponent. "This is a tournament we don't play every year, so it's always special for me to play here," he later added.
It was the World No. 9's first quarter-final appearance at the National Bank Open Presented by Rogers, which alternates between Toronto and Montreal each season. Auger-Aliassime had thrilled his home fans this week with victories against Yoshihito Nishioka and ninth seed Cameron Norrie, but came undone against Ruud at the ATP Masters 1000.
"I've been thinking since the match ended what happened," he said. "I think I have to see. Maybe my expectations were a bit too high from yesterday [a 6-3, 6-4 win against Norrie] and I was trying to repeat that instead of just living with what I had, just fighting with all the tools that I had today, fighting with my opponent today."
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The 22-year-old kept his belief after the one-sided opening set, but said "it really felt like the worst possible outcome" after dropping serve twice to fall behind 0-3 in the second.
"At that point it gets really tough," he explained. "I try my best, but he was also getting more and more comfortable and confident, so then things get much more difficult."
Using the difficult defeat as a learning experience, he now turns his attention to Cincinnati and the US Open.
"This is not usual for me, after playing two good matches, to lose the way I did today, especially at a tournament like this one."
Despite the defeat, Auger-Aliassime has moved up one place this week to seventh in the Pepperstone ATP Live Race To Turin, with his biggest points haul this season coming from his maiden title in Rotterdam. He will still have plenty of chances to add to that trophy count this year and beyond.
"The important thing for me is to understand what happened and try to act on it after I try to move on. I'm not someone who falls into emotions or doubts or wonders," he said. "Tennis is a sport, many things happen: sometimes good things, sometimes not as good.
"The important thing is to keep going. Even when you win it's important to see what you can improve. I've been doing that for my whole career, so this is not new. In a few hours from now, once I will have digested this loss, I will try to look at the future."