They made 2022 | Félix Auger-Aliassime, from second to champion

Félix Auger-Aliassime started the year as an eternal second, but he ended it as a champion, liberated, relieved, galvanized by victory. The 23-year-old athlete, by winning not one, but four individual trophies in 2022, experienced his deliverance and confirmed his place among the elite of world tennis. Now, Canada’s first Grand Slam consecration seems to be waiting at the end of the racket.

More than ever, the media tear him off, the public pampers him and his adversaries fear him.

Final after final, defeat after defeat, the weight of disappointed hopes piled up on the shoulders of Félix Auger-Aliassime, alias FAA. To rub shoulders so closely with victory, without ever touching the trophy: after several laps in this merry-go-round, doubt was beginning to creep in.

“I had lost eight finals, explains to the Homework the Montreal athlete during an end-of-year interview. I wouldn’t go so far as to say I had the weight of the world on my shoulders and was stuck…but I was increasingly being portrayed as a player with great potential who just couldn’t seem to deliver at important times. »

It only took one triumph, just one, to change everything… and Rotterdam arrived. After seeing so many rivals haloed by victory, it was his turn, finally, to wear the laurels. For a long time, the pressure had imposed its tyranny on him. By hoisting the champion’s trophy in Rotterdam, Félix Auger-Aliassime finally broke his chains.

His cry of victory that day sounded like a release.

« I felt all the stress drop, then a relief like I had never known before, » he recalls. A first title is like a consecration: everyone remembers that moment. I will remember it for a long time! »

This first tournament gave him the impetus to win others. Autumn brought him a fruitful harvest during a sequence where he seemed touched by grace. Basel, Antwerp, Florence: three tournaments won in as many weeks, all while escaping, in total, only four small sets.

“Mentally, I think there is a big difference in the calm, the serenity and the order by which I approach my career, confides FAA about these weeks of October and November when he reigned over his sport. . I am much more structured in my head, more serene when I approach a tournament. I played great matches, but above all I was much more consistent in my quality of play. That’s what makes the difference between a good player and a great player. »

On the road to victories that 2022 laid out before him, Félix Auger-Aliassime overthrew the Greek Stefanos Tsitsipas, the Russian Andrey Rublev, the Scot Andy Murray, the Dane Holger Rune and the Spaniard Carlos Alcaraz, in addition to taking the measurement, for the very first time, of legends Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic.

With such a draw, the Quebecer allows himself all the hopes and a Grand Slam victory suddenly seems within reach. “I got to this point,” he says. I rise as one of the good players on the circuit, capable of winning tournaments and dominating the sport. I feel that my status is improving in the eyes of other players and I feel more in my place, less of an impostor in my shoes. »

Canada’s first victory in Davis Cup history in late November capped a banner year for FAA. The sixth racket in the world has taken a liking to these heights: he now dreams of reaching the top spot.

“I feel that I have the potential…” He changes his mind immediately. » I have conviction, deep down, that I can accomplish great things. »

Félix Auger-Aliassime started the year 2022 as an eternal second, he finished it as a champion. 2023 is coming: it is by conquering, now, that he awaits it.

To see in video


Back to top button