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August 16, 2021

Felix Auger-Aliassime

Cincinnati, Ohio, USA

Press Conference


7-6, 6-3

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. A tough two-set match. A little bit of a slow start, but you were able to turn the match on its head. Talk about that a bit.

FELIX AUGER-ALIASSIME: Yeah, I had an okay start. At some point, yeah, I served a bit bad and then he played a good game. I don't recall really well what happened, but, you know, I was down a break but I felt really close. You know, I felt like right away after I was giving myself chances to break back. In the end I broke back, him serving for the set.

In the end of course it was a tight first one. It was really important for me to win it because of the rain delay after and everything, it was an important set to win. I'm happy I was able to find a way today. In matches like this against opponents like this, that's the key, just trying to find a way throughout the match.

Q. How did you handle the rain delay? Why do you think you were able to come out well after it?

FELIX AUGER-ALIASSIME: I mean, it was tough, because I was serving at 40-Love when it started raining, and I rushed through my serves a little bit, so that wasn't good for me. Then hit two double faults before eventually stopping the play.

Then, you know, I came out a bit frustrated because of that. But, no, I had an hour at the locker to relax, talk with my coach a little bit about what was going well, what to keep pressing on.

Yeah, just had a smoothie and went back out there to warm up. I had a pretty good warmup. When this happens you try to do an intense warmup to come out really warm. You know, I did. It was a tight first game at 2-1. I wasn't playing so good.

But then after, I felt better. I was able to actually break him twice after the rain delay, so overall I felt like I was playing good after the stop.

Q. We know you want to peak at the Grand Slams, of course. What is the significance for you this week and the last event before you play a Grand Slam?

FELIX AUGER-ALIASSIME: I mean, of course it's an important event too. I don't see it as like, Oh, I'm preparing for the US Open. In Djokovic's case when he's trying to achieve what he's trying to achieve, maybe, but at my age and my point of my career, every tournament is important.

This one is. US Open is, of course, but I think every week is an opportunity. I try to do my best. But of course from what the Grand Slams are, I have had a good run in Grand Slams this year, and I'm feeling confident I can go deep in New York. I'm going to have a bit of time after here to rest a little bit, to relax, get some training. I think that's needed before the Grand Slam.

I'll come out in New York fresh and ready to go.

Q. You mentioned in the last tournament that the Olympics, the practice, the trips, everything maybe made you a little bit maybe tired. How do you recover after that? You had a good match today, but how can you do like mentally? How can you be ready for Cincinnati and then later the US Open?

FELIX AUGER-ALIASSIME: Yeah, of course it was a long stretch for me, even though, you know, I didn't have many wins on the hard courts either in the Olympics or in the last two weeks.

Still, like you said, it's still a lot of traveling, a lot of practices. Being in tournaments is stressful for players. So I feel like, you know, of course that tired me out a little bit, but in the end, you know, I try to do my best to really dig deep, find solutions even if I'm not feeling great. Doesn't matter. I think I try to be consistent with my attitude.

I feel like every match is an opportunity to work on yourself, to be a better player. You know, I try to really just do my best on every match, every point. That's the most I can give. Then we will see where it leads me.

Q. We talk a lot about Uncle Toni, now one of your coaches. Can you talk a bit about Frederick? He's been with you for a long time. What is it that makes him special? What does he bring to your team? How has it been interesting for you maybe to watch him interact with Toni as the bond and the team has grown this season?

FELIX AUGER-ALIASSIME: Well, you know, Fred knows me like a son, for sure. You know, we have been working together for four full years, since 2017. He's been, you know, I think he's one of the big reasons where I am today.

You know, he's been able to really shape my game in a good way, work technically to improve every aspect of my game and really connecting with how I want to play in the future going forward. He has really a long-term vision.

The biggest thing is the passion, the passion and the commitment he has towards me, towards the success of our goal as a team. Of course me, as a player, but there is a few people in this boat, in this adventure. He's the captain a little bit, or he's the guide, I would say, as we call him in the team.

He's really an important part of my career, of my life, and, you know, I'm happy that we are doing good work. You know, I really hope it leads us to big successes and a long road ahead.

Q. Karen Khachanov or Kevin Anderson next. Your thoughts on how you feel you match up against those two players?

FELIX AUGER-ALIASSIME: Yeah, you know, tricky, of course, two great opponents. We all know that.

Karen is in good form. Just finaled in the Olympics. I feel like we had a good match in Montreal last time. I had my chances. He was able to really dig deep. He's a tough guy mentally. He's able to stay tough in matches when it's not going well, and, you know, he did that.

But I think in both situations of course I have to believe in myself, in my beliefs to go through to win.

Of course, very powerful players. I'm going to have to be really good on my return, protect my service games to start with, and then see where I can create opportunities, either when I'm returning or see how we can, you know, make it difficult for them when I'm playing. We'll see.

Q. You're still so young. This is I believe the third time you have played this event and only second time at this venue because of course last year of the US Open bubble. What stands out to you about this tournament?

FELIX AUGER-ALIASSIME: The big thing is the fans. It's impressive. You feel like I guess there is a lot of history here. I feel like it's a habit of coming to the tournament from generations to generations, because you see people of all ages.

You see a lot of kids, you see teenagers, you see guys and girls like my age, and then you see also older people coming with their kids.

It's really fun. You know, you feel like it's a family event. Everyone is welcome. There is a lot of people that showed up. For me, I think that's what makes it really special.

I think this year I'm able to enjoy it even more than previous years, and it's really good, to be honest. I'm glad I'm here and I won my first round. It's a great tournament.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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