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February 10, 2021

Felix Auger-Aliassime

Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Press Conference


6-4, 6-1, 6-2

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. You must be pleased with a straight-set win today. One match away, if Denis wins, for an all-Canadian matchup in the third round. How do you look forward to that?

FELIX AUGER-ALIASSIME: No, today on my side was a good match. Hotter day, different conditions, a little bit faster. I was able to win in straight sets, so that's a positive thing.

So, yes, I'm happy on my part for getting through that match. Now, if Denis wins, I get to play him. I think it's going to be good for the sport in Canada, of course. Entertaining always. A good opportunity for me to play him again.

Q. You no longer live in Canada, but have you been affected by the closed borders of not being able to visit family or friends?

FELIX AUGER-ALIASSIME: Well, last year was difficult not only for myself but for my family to travel. Whenever they had to come back, they had to quarantine at home. So I only came back at the end of the season. I spent three weeks there.

But, yeah, it was tough because I couldn't see my family, sibling, for a few months in a row. But, I mean, it's all right. That's how it is. I mean, it didn't affect myself or my game that much. It was just something everybody has to deal with.

Q. What do you anticipate for the rest of the year? Just be in Monte-Carlo mainly?

FELIX AUGER-ALIASSIME: Yeah, my next tournament will now most likely be in Rotterdam. We'll see here once the tournament finishes, I'll make my plan, see where I go. Most likely home in Monaco we'll see if my family, my sister can come visit at some point, as well.

Q. If you're going to possibly face Denis next, talk through what mindset you might have playing someone who is a teammate and an opponent?

FELIX AUGER-ALIASSIME: Yeah, well, it's not the first time, it's not the last time we're going to play. It's the same thing every time.

We're teammates. Whenever we're together, we have a good time. When we share experiences like Davis Cup or ATP Cup last year, we always want the best for the team. Of course, now playing against each other, we've played also before in Grand Slams, it's a big opportunity for both of us. It's an important match. We're going to just compete as hard as we can.

Q. Do you have any ground rules before you play, don't talk to each other before?

FELIX AUGER-ALIASSIME: Yeah, no, nothing special. Nothing special.

Q. I don't mean to ignore Bernie by this, but if you do play Denis, you've known each other for a million years. Do you remember the first time you met or played Denis?

FELIX AUGER-ALIASSIME: I think I first met him when I was eight. They took the best players under 12, and we had some, they call them national camps. I think that's the first time I met him in Toronto. He was already playing with an adult racquet, one-handed backhand at nine years old. I remember it was pretty impressive the first time I saw him. I'm still impressed by what he does.

No, but, yeah, we have known each other since we were very young. I played him, yeah, when I was eight or nine years old.

Q. When you look at the draw for the first time, do you look for fellow Canadians? With you and Milos, Vasek, Denis doing well, more opportunities to face each other. When you do see there's a Canadian in your quadrant, does that affect you in any way at all?

FELIX AUGER-ALIASSIME: So, yeah, I do look. I look usually at the whole draw, who plays who. I look at not just the Canadians, everybody, to see nice matchups, good first rounds. When you look at your part of the draw, even if I always look at my first match and focus on my first match, then the next one you see who the seeded players in your part are.

I saw Denis, of course, when I looked first at the draw.

It doesn't change much, to be honest. I think you have to get through the first rounds. But, of course, now knowing that I was going to win this match, if he wins as well, we play each other, I don't know really what it changes. For me, it doesn't change anything really. It's going to be a tennis match, and we're going to do as best as we can, both of us.

Q. Your thoughts on the match today, what you thought worked well, maybe what you want to work on moving forward?

FELIX AUGER-ALIASSIME: Again, I served well. I didn't face a breakpoint. That was key. I'm able to protect my serve, I give myself opportunities then on the return. I was able to adapt well, change my position, mix things up, just create opportunities.

It was a very complete match. It was good to get through in three sets in the hot weather, conditions tend to change a lot here in Melbourne. It was good that I adapted well to it, I got the job done in straight sets. I can be happy with my performance.

Q. How would you describe the opportunity to give hope to people who are watching from around the world, seeing the tournament going on with fans in the stands?

FELIX AUGER-ALIASSIME: I think it's really positive for tennis. It's first exciting for us to see fans again. After the quarantine, 14 days, to be able to experience somewhat of a normal life again here, honestly I think we're all taking it in because it's not going to be like that for the rest of the year.

On my part, of course, yeah, the hope, how much players, athletes in general, can inspire, especially young kids, I look at my dad's academy, I know that I have an impact on a lot of kids there. I try for the impact to be as positive as possible. If through my tennis they can get hope that they can also reach a professional stage, they can reach where I am today, it's a really satisfying thing.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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