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January 15, 2020

Felix Auger-Aliassime

Adelaide, South Australia, Australia


6-3, 7-6

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. It was kind of a little hairy there in the second set but you kind of found a way. How did you get through that?
FELIX AUGER-ALIASSIME: I thought obviously there was parts in the second set that I would have liked to go better or to go my way. But overall, I felt like with the way I was serving I would have my chances.

You know, I stayed calm. I was, like, Okay, didn't break this time. Okay, didn't break this time. But keep believing, keep working.

And, you know, I think sometimes it's just a rhythm of matches, the confidence where, you know, those key points, breakpoints, 30-All, deuce, sometimes he served well, sometimes he played well. Sometimes I just didn't play the right shot.

But I'm happy with the way I handled things, you know, in the second, because, you know, it could have went another way. I would have been probably pissed if I lost that set point at 5-6. But then, you know, in the tiebreak I felt confident just because I felt like the percentage of the set was going my way, and I was, like, Okay, now it's the time to show it.

Q. You had some big second serves including on that set point there. How much confidence does that give you, given you have talked about your struggles with your second serve in the past?
FELIX AUGER-ALIASSIME: Yeah, I mean, I have worked on it, for sure. I was well aware that, you know, I had to adjust a few things. You know, I have done everything I could.

Now I think, yeah, today it's showing, but it's not a guarantee. I think sometimes people mistake -- I have seen comments where they were talking about Zverev, like, Okay, he won Madrid one time without facing breakpoint, and now he's struggling, and they're, like, How is that possible?

Well, that's life. I mean, it's not because you serve well once that you're going to serve well your whole career.

I just have to keep working, keep improving and stay on the right course. Now I think I'm in a good place with my serve, and I've just got to keep working on that, yeah.

Q. How much did you know of James Duckworth coming into the match, considering he's had his fair share of physical injuries and whatnot and he's been on and off the tour so hasn't quite had the exposure and you're still very new and young on the tour? So did you know much about him?
FELIX AUGER-ALIASSIME: I played him actually my first time playing Rogers Cup when I was 16 in Toronto. I lost two close sets like today, but opposite score.

I couldn't really remember, just because I don't think I was really analyzing that much at that age. But, you know, I watched videos of course today to see how he played. But obviously I knew at the back of my mind that he was an ex-top 100 player, had some good results in his career. He was dangerous. And now he's fit and he's fit again.

I knew he was going to be dangerous. I prepared myself to the best James Duckworth, and I'm happy that I was well aware, because he played I think some solid tennis.

Q. How do you feel you're playing now that you're pretty much settled here in Australia following ATP Cup and here and Melbourne around the corner? So are you feeling very comfortable with everything you need to do and are doing?
FELIX AUGER-ALIASSIME: Yeah, I feel better and better every day. Yesterday I had my last day of practice before the tournament. I just felt like, Okay, my game's in a good place.

Obviously you're never sure when the results are going to come. You can win or lose like the match today. But at the back of my mind, now I know that, you know, good things could be coming eventually, so I feel like I'm in a good place in my mind and in my game.

But, yeah, we'll see how it goes, but definitely feel like I have adapted to the conditions. I feel well, and I think it was a good decision also to come early, play two tournaments before Melbourne to get some more matches in and definitely a good decision.

Q. Obviously you had quite a rapid rise last year up the rankings and everything, and then you had some injury issues at the end. I'm curious now entering this period compared to this time last year how different do you feel and how have you adapted to this fast rise mentally?
FELIX AUGER-ALIASSIME: Well, I feel like I'm growing, you know, every few months in my mind and my game.

Doesn't mean I'm playing better or that the results were better, but I just feel like I'm growing as a person. As an athlete I'm getting stronger, feeling better.

And I think that brings confidence, you know. Sometimes results do, but just the fact that you feel like you're a better person in general, it brings also confidence.

For sure, I think compared to last year the same moment where I was just outside the top 100 playing quallies in Melbourne, well, obviously I feel like my game is better, obviously my ranking is better, but just the fact that I feel more composed and calm about general things.

But I'll be facing more probably difficulties in the years to come, and it's going to be the same pattern again.

Q. When you say you know at some point the results will come and you're kind of not really pushing it, I'm wondering, this patience is not something easy...
FELIX AUGER-ALIASSIME: I didn't get the first part, sorry.

Q. When you say that the results eventually will come, you don't know when they're going to come, I'm wondering, that kind of patience, it's not easy to get, and when I speak to a lot of players they say it's the hardest part, so how are you keeping everything in perspective in general?
FELIX AUGER-ALIASSIME: Well, I think that's what you work on every day. Sometimes it's tougher than other days. I'm a competitor. I always love to win, but unfortunately you have 50% chance of winning every match. You never know which way you're going to go. You prepare yourself the best. You believe in what you do. You go out there and you fight.

But I'm always, you know, happy that it goes my way. But I think that's where I think I have grown in the last year or so, because just whatever results happen, just staying calm, confidence due to work, and just believe that if I do the right things, results will come one day or another.

Q. Do you know much about your next opponent?
FELIX AUGER-ALIASSIME: Alex? Well, I mean, I have seen him in a couple of challengers. He came to Canada to play some challengers, in Granby and stuff.

I don't remember much. I mean, I have seen him play, I know who he is, but I will just definitely just, you know, watch how he did today.

I know he always plays good in Australia. I think last year he played well at the Aussie Open. I know he's from the region here. He beat a great player today. I'm expecting a tough match, for sure.

Q. What did you take away from the ATP Cup, obviously playing some high-caliber opponents right out of the gate.
FELIX AUGER-ALIASSIME: It's good. It's a good way to start the year, just compare yourself to good players.

Sometimes you don't get the chance to practice with great players in the offseason, but coming the first week of the year, and not only myself but you saw Denis play against Tsitsipas the first day of the tournament, and you rarely get matches like this in other tournaments.

So I personally think it's just a good way to see where your game is, where your level is before, you know, the real deal starts. But also, it's just a great competition overall. It's just a great level, great atmosphere, great organization. The players are really involved and really, you know, going and leaving everything on the court.

So overall, I personally liked it, and I really enjoyed it, yeah.

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