The 19-year-old, who finished runner-up to Hamad Medjedovic Saturday at the Next Gen ATP Finals presented by NEOM in Jeddah, will remain in the Middle East for a practice week with Rafael Nadal at the Rafa Nadal Academy in Kuwait.
"I was very happy, very surprised when he asked me to practise with him," Fils said in his post-match press conference. "It's such a big thing for me to play with one of the greatest players of all time. I will try my best for him but I have a big season coming so I will also try my best for myself. I will try to enjoy it as well."
Despite the disappointment of losing in five sets to Medjedovic after saving two match points in the fourth set, Fils can be justifiably happy with his banner year in 2023. He shaved more than 200 places off his Pepperstone ATP Ranking during the year to finish inside the Top 40.
"It was a nice year for sure. I started at 250 but finished at 36, so that's pretty good. It still could have been better. I lost some close matches, like I did today, but it's just experience and I will try to do better next year.”
Fils, who had not won a tour-level match before this year, finishes 2023 with a 23-18 match record, including his 4-1 mark in Jeddah. He won his first title in Lyon and also reached the Antwerp final.
Although Fils said he has been inspired by the rapid rise of Carlos Alcaraz, who became World No. 1 last year at 19, he is not putting pressure on himself to emulate the Spaniard, at least in the short term.
"My goal is not to be No. 1 in the world in three months, because it's not possible,” Fils said. “I have to work, to work, to work. I have to work in the gym, work on the court, try my best in every match I play and then maybe one day I will be a champion. I hope it comes fast, but not as fast as Carlos, because what he did was crazy."