August 7, 2018
F. AUGER-ALIASSIME/L. Pouille
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. You broke in Pouille's first service game and then you were down Love-40 in your next service game. You fended off the three break points, and then in your next service game you faced another break point. Don't you feel nervous? I mean, this is your debut in Canada.
FELIX AUGER-ALIASSIME: I mean, those are the kind of things that happen in a match. I mean, it happens for everyone. If you look at Djokovic today, he was serving for the match, gets broken. It's the kind of stuff -- I could have gotten broken that second game.
There's other ways to win the match but, for me, it's just try and win every point. I started off the games bad, you know, in my first service games. Was able to hang in there and get those key games.
So that's probably one of the reason why I won that first set, yeah.
Q. You mentioned in your post doubles match interview that playing the world's top, best players that even losing it gives you experience and you learn from it and you gain confidence. Did that help you going into this match again today, winning against a top 18 ranked player?
FELIX AUGER-ALIASSIME: Yeah, I think mentally, first of all, you know, to crack the ice yesterday with a first competitive match in this tournament probably helped me today. I think I felt also more comfortable. I had my -- (in French). Sorry. I lost the word in English.
FELIX AUGER-ALIASSIME: Bearings, okay, on the serve, on my return. So that probably helped in today's match, yeah.
Q. You skipped the grass court season and played a lot more and had an extended clay season. How did that help your preparation for the summer hard court season?
FELIX AUGER-ALIASSIME: I think I'm feeling strong physically. Also the fact that I've played a lot of matches, you know, on any surface, you know, playing a lot of matches, winning a lot of matches gives you confidence.
So I think playing on clay, that's what I was able to get, confidence that I could win; that I could, you know, finish these matches; that I could go deep in tournaments.
So I think that's paying off right now at the end of the summer.
Q. Last year at the event in Montreal, you had to miss it because of an injury but you saw your good friend Denis make quite a run. Did that at all motivate you, seeing what he was able to do, to kind of get out here and have a great result on Canadian soil yourself?
FELIX AUGER-ALIASSIME: I don't think what he did last year had an impact on what I did today. I think in general he's obviously a great model for everyone, a good ambassador for Tennis Canada. First, he's a good friend of mine. So obviously I was happy for him to win last year.
But this year is a different story. For me, I have a different career. It's a different year. Everything is different. So for me just getting that first win today was very important for me. It's good for my confidence, and hopefully I can keep going.
Q. As you said, first one at home, big win. Does it feel like a big event for you?
FELIX AUGER-ALIASSIME: Yeah.
Q. Like a milestone?
FELIX AUGER-ALIASSIME: Yeah. Obviously, it's the first, I think, top 20 win. I was close a few weeks ago against Rublev.
I think it's kind of a statement, you know, for me to win these matches, to prove to myself and others that I can, you know, compete with these guys. That I have the level to be there, to compete in the top 100, it's obviously great, yeah.
Q. You had quite a sort of celebration there, a moment of pumping your fists. Can you tell us what kind of was running through your mind at that moment when you finally knew you had the win?
FELIX AUGER-ALIASSIME: I don't know. I didn't really think about it. I think my objectives are, like, further than that. I'm very happy that I have won my first match, but for me it's just, you know, another step towards where I want to go, where I want to be as a player.
So I'm not the type of player to really -- the type of guy, in general, to get excited for wins. You know, I have a long-term vision, and this is just another great step in my career.
Q. Any plans to celebrate your 18th birthday tomorrow or does this sort of satisfy that need, and what is it like to share a birthday with the great Roger Federer?
FELIX AUGER-ALIASSIME: It's funny because I was thinking about it the whole year. I was like, okay, like, this year I'm turning 18. You know, I'm going to be major in Montreal in Quebec. I was like, okay, it's all exciting. Like, I had plans for my birthday.
And now that the tournament is here, it's like I have another priority. It's like I'm not even thinking about my birthday, So it's kind of funny.
For every teenager, 18th birthday is something you are waiting for. Now I'm playing the Rogers Cup, so I haven't really thought of doing anything for my birthday except playing a match.
Q. Speaking of Federer, you did spend some time with him in the offseason in Dubai. What do you learn just by being around a legendary person like on a daily basis?
FELIX AUGER-ALIASSIME: I think, in general, it was good to see him from up close. He didn't try to give me any, you know, particular advice. He wasn't trying to be my coach or anything.
But just to be close to him, talk about tennis in general, just hitting with him was obviously great for my game.
I think it helps in these moments, you know, to have hit with the best player, to feel how they play. I think it helps me in these kind of matches, yeah.
Q. Speaking as someone who's got experience with having a long name, I was wondering if you could just tell the story of your surname a little bit, both parts, and any funny experiences you've had with it.
FELIX AUGER-ALIASSIME: So my dad is an African immigrant. And when my parents arrived in Montreal, I was born and they decided to give me both names.
The reason why, also my dad insisted that my mom's name was in there just to give me the Quebec -- like, Quebec recognition or like, you know, Quebec name, yeah. So that's one of the reason why I have the Auger in my name. And, yeah, I'm planning on keeping it.
Obviously, sometimes it's -- it's always tough, you know. I hear all kind of things like, obviously, in English, "Ogre" is just always present. "Alia-see-may" or whatever.
But, no, I don't really wrap myself around -- like, it doesn't really matter if people mispronounce. But, yeah, it's "Au-shay Alia-sim" for everyone in this room.
Q. Just about Denis, how often do you guys talk and how do you stay in touch throughout the year? And just what does his friendship mean to you, having someone to sort of talk to who's experiencing similar things as you?
FELIX AUGER-ALIASSIME: I think we're at the 70th day of a Snapchat streak, so that's pretty much, like, how much we talk. We almost talk every day.
But he's a great friend of mine, one of my best friends on tour. So we're pretty close and we talk about anything. Nothing in particular like normal teenager talks, yeah.
He's a good friend, yeah.
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