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July 3, 2019

Felix Auger-Aliassime

Wimbledon, London, England


6-3, 4-6, 6-4, 6-2

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. A little bit of a while to get going. Once you got that one breakpoint, that sort of loosened you up a little bit?
FELIX AUGER-ALIASSIME: Yeah, I think I felt a bit nervous at the start of the match. Yeah, I think the circumstances being that I'm looked at as a favorite for this match, and it's also something different, I have played him before, but it's big stages, big moments, so obviously the nerves come in and you can't go against it.

So, you know, I try to manage as best as I could. I think I was able to play well every time I had breakpoint to save and take my opportunity when I needed to.

Again, in the second I saved a lot, even the third I saved quite a few. I think that was the big key today.

Q. Are you a bit surprised about how he played? He hits pretty big?
FELIX AUGER-ALIASSIME: Yeah, he's improved a lot. I played him last year in Lyon challenger, I won 6-2, 6-2. I felt this is a completely different player. I felt like I could have been more aggressive on my side but I felt like just playing normal. He was holding the ball well and moving it around and being very aggressive. Any time he had the chance, he came in quite a lot.

So, no, I could sense that, you know, his game has improved, for sure. In the end, I was able to maybe serve a little better and find a way to victory. That's positive.

Q. You mentioned the nerves. This is all a bit new to you.

Q. Grand Slam tournament play and making it now, getting closer to the second week. Are there things, though, that are sort of feeling easier for you now each time you head out there, do you think?
FELIX AUGER-ALIASSIME: I would say nerves are not a new thing. You know, I think at any stage of your life, I can recall being 10 years old and playing the first time away from home and being very nervous, you know. I think since I'm very young, you kind of learn how to deal with this, you know, with this pressure, you know, with the stress.

But at different stages of your career you face different times. Now it's Grand Slams. Maybe one day I'll play finals of these events and I'll be, for sure, extremely nervous. I think it's emotions you can't go against. It comes, and then it all depends on how you deal with it.

Again, today, I was able to deal with it in a good way, yeah.

Q. Some of the other kind of younger players, like Stefanos and Sascha, this week have spoken about the pressure of the expectation to maybe go on and be the next big players. Do you feel any of that pressure to maybe carry the sport forward?
FELIX AUGER-ALIASSIME: "Carry the sport" is a bit much. Obviously, yeah, there's a bit of a pressure. I think it's quite funny, because I think for a lot of players when they play their first Grand Slam they have zero expectations. No one talks about them for the majority.

I think a player like Moutet today, he comes, I think he's loose, nothing to lose. For me to play, not my first slam, but to win my first match and already people are talking about me going far, it's something very odd.

And I could sense for Stefanos and Zverev, it's difficult because they have done already great things. They're so young. But at the same time, this is extreme amount of pressure on them to play well in the slams.

But I think, you know, it just comes when it has to come and everyone has his own timing for that.

Q. Do you feel like you're kind of putting less pressure on yourself than almost the outside world is?
FELIX AUGER-ALIASSIME: I don't try to add extra pressure from the outside. I think I put extra pressure from myself already. Yeah, I'm sometimes hard on myself, but I think, you know, it's all normal. You just have to -- you have to learn how to deal with it. You can't escape it. You can't hide it. This is in your life and you learn how to deal with it, basically.

Q. I'm old enough where I was fortunate to see Arthur Ashe play and I have also been fortunate where I have studied his career quite a bit. Frankly, there is a wonderful quality that you have that brings into mind, whether it's your quietude, grace, your athleticism, intelligence. Has this ever been mentioned before? Has this ever been mentioned? Are you familiar...
FELIX AUGER-ALIASSIME: That's very kind, thank you.

But the comparison, yeah, it goes back far. Obviously I think he was -- I think he's a big model for me but also any players. I think from the videos you watch and the stories you have heard about him, what I really like about these athletes or these persons in particular is just the way they impacted the sport and life in general, like, they just pushed it to another level where you see great players.

But he was just a great human and he kind of changed things in a sport and in his life, and he changed a lot of people's lives.

So I think that's what I take from him. And if I could do that one day in my way, that would be great, yeah.

Q. And one year he won in this place. Is that something that might just happen with you perhaps?
FELIX AUGER-ALIASSIME: Hopefully. Hopefully I can have a similar career (smiling).

Q. Are you the sort of player who looks at the draw and looks down the line? Do you know if you win your next match who you could play next?
FELIX AUGER-ALIASSIME: I know who I could play if I win but not further than that. So I know if I win I could play Novak. But then there is a match to play. So I think once the match gets going, you're already in enough trouble in the court, you don't really think of what could happen (smiling).

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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