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March 9, 2018

Felix Auger-Aliassime

Indian Wells, California


6-2, 7-6

An interview with:


THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. What do you think the keys have been to your recent improvement this week?
FELIX AUGER-ALIASSIME: I think coming here early to play a challenger before. Even though I lost first round, I got a good week of training, getting used to the conditions that are not quite easy. You know, worked on a few things, and I think that's one of the things that paid off.

Obviously it's all the work behind all the weeks before and last year, so it's kind of paying off today, yeah.

Q. What was the most difficult time in the match for you today?
FELIX AUGER-ALIASSIME: I think the second set. I think I played great in the first. Came in pretty pumped and was playing well, aggressive, serving well.

But after, in the second, for some reason I kind of got nervous and I was seeing maybe the finish line and, you know, was kind of playing in my head.

So I tried, you know, take my time on the serve, stay calm. Then got a few clutch points with my serve not to get broken in the second. And played really well in the tiebreak, so that was probably the key moment of the match.

Q. What do you think the significance of this tournament is going to be in terms of transitioning on to the ATP Tour?
FELIX AUGER-ALIASSIME: Firsts are always good. You know, get your first win, you break the ice. And then after, it's like the next time I'm on the stadium, it's something I have seen before. Next time I'm playing in front of so many people on live TV is something I have seen before. So I think that's going to help me in the future, obviously, and for the rest of the year.

Q. Were you surprised at the crowd and the size and everything?
FELIX AUGER-ALIASSIME: Yeah, I was really surprised the amount of people that were there. The whole stadium was almost packed.

You know, it was great. The atmosphere was just unbelievable, yeah.

Q. So you're famous, do you think?
FELIX AUGER-ALIASSIME: Famous? No, not yet, I don't think so. It will come eventually maybe (smiling).

Q. Are these the kind of moments you have been dreaming about as you have been coming up through the juniors and working your way up?
FELIX AUGER-ALIASSIME: Yeah, those are the moments, exactly. I told my coach earlier this week, like, Wow, it's crazy. Last year, two years ago, never would have thought I'd be here talking to you guys, second round of the Masters. I was still playing juniors.

This transition went pretty fast for me, so it's quite unbelievable to be here so early. But as a kid, those are the moments you dream of and those are the stages you want to play on, yeah.

Q. Do you find the level of play here very different? What are the differences?
FELIX AUGER-ALIASSIME: Yeah, I mean, obviously if we take it from the juniors or futures level, I mean, there is less easy points. The players are serving also better. Mentally tougher, you know. You've got to really earn your points, earn your games.

But, I mean, also these are kind of players in the quallies. And Vasek, these are kind of players you might see in challengers or challenger finals. So it's a level, I guess, I'm used to, but I think in the next round it's going to be something quite different to play Milos, yeah.

Q. How are you feeling physically after playing three matches in five days? Has it helped that they were mostly night matches?
FELIX AUGER-ALIASSIME: I feel good, yeah. But I think it helped that I played in the night because it was quite hot during the day.

But I haven't played a lot of matches this year already, so I think I'm feeling pretty fresh. And maybe I was a bit more fresh than Vasek that has played a lot of matches and going deep in challengers this year. So maybe that kind of helped a little bit.

Q. What about that next match? Your thoughts?
FELIX AUGER-ALIASSIME: Yeah, it's exciting to see someone I have looked up to growing up. You know, I'll try do everything I can to return the serve and hang in there. It's quite exciting (smiling).

I'm looking forward to it, yeah.

Q. Just talk a little bit about some of the strengths of your game and then also what you're working on.
FELIX AUGER-ALIASSIME: My strengths are probably my serve, forehand. I'm an aggressive player, but I think the coverage of the court is something I have been working on. And I think it's paying off now with the big guys, you know, to be able to cover the court, to move well, and then to defend and stay in the points. That's something that, you know, that helps me a lot.

As a player, you try and be as complete as you can, so there is a lot of things I want to improve and kind of just that consistency that I want to get, you know, over the matches and over the tournaments.

Q. What kind of advice do you get when it comes to tempering your expectations? I imagine you're coming up, you're a name a lot of people are talking about. You probably start to dream about some big results. What kind of advice do you get as far as what your goals should be as you move on?
FELIX AUGER-ALIASSIME: It's not easy. In my case, everything goes pretty fast. There has been a lot of new things in my life, you know, in the last few months on the tennis court, but also outside of the tennis courts.

You know, as a kid, it's some things you've got to get used to. You know, all the contracts and even the media and everything, it's quite a learning process.

So I think that's why, you know, you don't see, like, the consistency that the top players have, because you're kind of adjusting still, because I'm pretty young.

But the advice that I get is just to, you know, stay in the present. Take your time and enjoy the moment.

Q. Denis said he beat you in Ping-Pong this week. Is that your version, too?
FELIX AUGER-ALIASSIME: Yeah, he did, he did. I need to get my revenge.

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