September 5, 2020
New York, New York, USA
F. AUGER-ALIASSIME/C. Moutet
6-1, 6-0, 6-4
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. Remember last year when you played Moutet at Wimbledon and you beat him. Then you had Humbert in the next round and you lost. Were you looking a little bit too far ahead? Because obviously a very winnable third-round match. Did you take that into the match today, to not make that same mistake again?
FELIX AUGER-ALIASSIME: Yeah, I think that's the things you learn as a young player, not get ahead of yourself. Also learning to play when the expectations are obviously on you.
Today was a good example that obviously yourself and people are expecting you or there's expectations on your level, how you're going to play, and winning. You don't really always have control on that consequences, winning or losing.
I think last year, I got a bit ahead of myself against a player in a match like this, a similar situation, didn't play my best tennis.
This time around I think I was able to keep going, keep doing what I was doing well, yeah, just keep my focus and discipline going, not get too ahead of myself even when things got maybe a little bit tighter in the third set. I didn't get too excited, too nervous. I was able to conclude in a good way, so it's a good sign of improvement.
Q. The first two sets went by so quickly. When he raised his level, maybe yours dropped a little bit in the third set, is it almost easier to have it be best-of-five if there's dips or changes and there's a lot of time to recover and get out of it?
FELIX AUGER-ALIASSIME: Yeah, it was interesting, because even though you win the first two sets easily, you got to forget about those. You're up two sets to love. That's mainly it. Obviously it's better than being down.
I was looking at it like, Okay, even if he's playing better, I knew his back is against the wall, he now has nothing to lose. He's going to try everything.
He took a medical timeout, a bathroom break, trying to use everything to his advantage, which is normal. I was just trying to accept that, stay calm, accept that it's going to be a battle till the end, and I'm going to deserve that ticket through to the next round.
The composure I had today was good. I'm happy with how I dealt with the whole situation basically.
FELIX AUGER-ALIASSIME: It cut out a little bit. From what I understood, I can obviously take a lot of positives from my win today. Again, with the way I served, I was only broken once, which didn't really have a huge impact on the score at the end. I can be happy with that.
Obviously I want to keep going. Also knowing it's only going to get tougher from here, I'm going to need to keep and raise my level match after match, be able to dig even deeper and fight.
But obviously it's a good thing I was able to go through these first few matches without losing too much energy and feel fit, you know, feel like I still have a lot of energy left. That's a positive of these three first matches.
But, yeah, now I'm going to get tested more and more. We'll see how I will be able to respond to that.
Q. What does it mean for you to be in the fourth round?
FELIX AUGER-ALIASSIME: The last years here have been unfortunate. Obviously we all remember the time when I had to retire. I just felt like last year against Denis, I didn't play my level. I feel like he played great, but I really didn't show up.
It was a bit unfortunate also at the start of the year this year. I felt like I was playing well. I felt like I could have done better in Australia. I went down in the first.
But doing good things, having better results, I kept on training well, and I believe now I'm in a place where I deserve to be. I have a level to be in the second weeks of Grand Slams. Now I'm going to see how far I can go from here.
Q. I'm wondering if, with all the other Black players in the draw, do you notice when there are more Black players in the event, walking around the grounds? Does that mean anything to you?
FELIX AUGER-ALIASSIME: You know, it's really cool, especially here in New York. The players and staff, you have to understand the staff here in the locker rooms, in the backgrounds, behind the scenes of the site, there's a lot of diversity, Black people. The support that we get from them, the connection, the laughs, it's just a really good atmosphere. I think all the players here like it.
Seeing, you know, players from different ethnicities, different backgrounds reaching later stages of tournaments like these, I think it's a really good example for the people watching us, the kids.
I was thinking today that you want to send out a good message. You hope that you're leading by example, that kids, in you, they see belief, that you can reach that whatever city, country you come from, whatever neighborhood you come from.
I hope this gives a lot of belief to people, and it's a good message of love. Yeah, I'm happy to see a lot of my peers and players I guess looking like me in the further rounds.
Q. Sorry if this question is naïve, but is that diversity something you're used to being around in tennis? I'm not sure what it looked like when you were growing up.
FELIX AUGER-ALIASSIME: Actually a lot. I was lucky to grow up in Canada. I was in school where there was people of many different backgrounds. I think I never had this what you see sometimes, where a kid will feel like he's out of the group because he doesn't have anybody that looks like him or he just feels like he's an outsider. I was able to grow up with people from obviously Canada, but Europe, Asia, Africans. It was a good melting pot.
The tour is good with that. We get a chance to play in all the countries of the world. That's a big chance of ours. We get received everywhere really well, and people are really well coming. I think if we can do it, everyone can do it. Everyone can be open-minded and accept the differences of the others.
Q. Your next opponent will either be Cilic or Thiem. Describe each of them separately.
FELIX AUGER-ALIASSIME: Marin, of course, we know a past champion here, a great player. Obviously not at his highest ranking now, at his highest level. But he's always dangerous. Especially in Grand Slams, he has the experience of winning those. You always have to be careful with players like these.
A bit like Andy in the second round, they know how to win, how to go deep in tournaments. Great serve, great strokes, beautiful backhand. It's going to be interesting tonight.
Obviously Dominic has been getting stronger and stronger year after year. You feel like step by step he's been reaching later stages of these tournaments, really becoming like a power in the tennis world.
For me, it would be a good matchup, interesting matchup for now, obviously to test myself against the best in the world, against the second seed of this tournament.
Q. At last count, there are 16 competitors of color in this year's US Open, perhaps the most of any time. I want to get your thoughts on what you think the impact of that is? Do you feel any particular pressure or responsibility in your play at this time?
FELIX AUGER-ALIASSIME: Sorry, I didn't get the start of the question. There's 16 what?
Q. People of color playing in this year's US Open. It's more than any other time. Definitely tennis has changed.
FELIX AUGER-ALIASSIME: Yeah, that's changed, and changed in a good way. Tennis has to be open to everyone. Maybe here in the U.S. it's not the most popular sport compared to basketball or football. I hope kids from all the backgrounds, neighborhoods... Frances is doing a great thing in his hometown with the academy there. You see kids coming from all the different neighborhoods, different communities, playing tennis, reaching for a racquet. I think that's a good thing.
I think here we are 16 players, a great number, showing a good example. I just love to see people from everywhere. It's just a great message to send out, to be open to diversity, people from different backgrounds.
Hopefully that will keep going. Hopefully we'll get even more players from Africa even. I know that's something that people have tried to do, bring more players from the African continent to professional tennis. Hopefully that happens in the future.
Q. The NBA has been recruiting a great deal in Marrakesh, recruiting players all over. Perhaps tennis can do something similar.
FELIX AUGER-ALIASSIME: Yeah, no, exactly. That would be great. We are lucky to be a sport that plays everywhere in the world. Why not have players from everywhere in the world, from Asia, Africa, all the continents really? I think that would be great.
Now we're seeing change and we're seeing different faces on the tour. I'm glad to be part of that. It's great to see. I like it.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports