Félix Auger-Aliassime

Félix Auger-Aliassime, tennis player (born 8 August 2000 in Montreal, QC). Félix Auger-Aliassime is one of the world’s rising tennis stars. In 2015, he became the youngest player ever to win a professional match and the youngest player ever to reach the Top 800 in the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) rankings. In 2015, he and Denis Shapovalov won Canada’s first Junior Davis Cup title, as well as the junior boys doubles title at the US Open. By the age of 20, Auger-Aliassime had reached the final of five ATP Tour events. During the 2019 ATP Tour season, he rose 91 places in the world rankings, from No. 108 to No. 17.

Félix Auger-Aliassime

Félix Auger-Aliassime competes at Wimbledon, 1 July 2019.

("Felix Auger-Aliassime" by Carine06 is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0)

Family and Childhood

Félix and his older sister, Malika, have a diverse ethnic background. Félix’s mother, Marie Auger, is of French Canadian descent, and his father, Sam Aliassime, is Togolese. Sam had 12 brothers and sisters and played tennis at the family home in Togo, in West Africa. Sam moved from Togo to Canada in 1996 at age 25. Marie and Sam raised their children in L’Ancienne-Lorette, a suburb of Quebec City. Marie is a teacher, and Sam is a tennis instructor.

Sam originally encouraged his children to play soccer, but they showed more interest in tennis. Félix started playing at age four at the Académie de tennis Hérisset-Bordeleau in Quebec City, where his father worked. Success came very early for Félix. At the age of six, he made the final of his first tournament.

Sam coached Félix until he was 12. He once told Le Soleil, “Coaching is educating. For me, the goal is not just to make tennis champions, but also to make good people. My motto is: we behave well every day. Victory, we don’t care. I would rather have a good person than win a tournament with someone who has a bad attitude.”

Early Junior Career

At age 11, in February 2012, Félix Auger-Aliassime won the prestigious Open Super 12 Tennis Indoor Hardcourt Tournament at the Tennis Club Alreen in Auray, France. The tournament is considered the strongest junior event in the world for players under the age of 12. In the final, Auger-Aliassime defeated Alen Avidzba of Russia 6–4, 6–1. He also reached the semifinal in Auray at the age of 10 in 2011 before losing to Artem Dubrivnyy of Russia 6–2, 1–6, 6–1.

In July 2012, Auger-Aliassime returned to Europe and won a junior clay court tournament in Porto San Giorgio, Italy. He defeated Yshai Oliel of Israel 6–4, 6–1 in the final. Auger-Aliassime proved to the tennis world at a young age that his greatest assets were his versatility and his ability to adapt to different surfaces.

After reaching two finals in Italy and Austria in 2013, Auger-Aliassime reached the final in an under-18 junior tennis tournament in Burlington, Ontario, on 25 October 2014, when he was 14. He lost to 16-year-old Matthew Gamble of the United States 7–5, 6–0 in the final.

Move to Montreal

In 2014, Auger-Aliassime moved from Quebec City to Montreal to train at the Tennis Canada National Training Centre. He became known for his intense practices and for his impressive two-handed backhand.

Breakout 2015 Season

Auger-Aliassime made history in March 2014 when he became the youngest player ever to qualify for a Challenger event. At 14 years and seven months old, he reached the main draw of the Challenger Banque Nationale de Drummondville. However, he had to pull out of the tournament because of an abdominal strain.

Auger-Aliassime won four junior titles (two in Mexico and two in the United States) in 2015. On 30 August, Auger-Aliassime beat fellow Canadian Denis Shapovalov 6–2, 7–6 at the USTA International Hard Court Tournament in College Park, Maryland. Auger-Aliassime then beat Alex De Minaur of Australia 6–3, 6–7, 7–6 in the final of the Eddie Herr International Junior Tennis Championship in Bradenton, Florida.

Auger-Aliassime entered three professional tournaments in 2015 — one in Quebec and two in Peru. In July, he reached the quarterfinal of the Granby Challenger before losing in three sets, 4–6, 6–2, 6–1 to Yoshihito Nishioka of Japan. By beating Andrew Whittington of Australia in the first round of Granby, 6–3, 6–2, he became the youngest player ever to win a professional level match and the youngest player ever to reach the top 800 in the ATP rankings.

Also in 2015, Auger-Aliassime teamed up with Shapovalov to win Canada’s first Junior Davis Cup Title. In the final, Canada beat Germany 2–1 in Madrid, Spain. Auger-Aliassime and Shapovalov also won the junior boys doubles title at the 2015 US Open.

Success in the United States

In 2016, Auger-Aliassime won two titles in the United States. On 11 September 2016, he became the fourth Canadian (after Eugenie Bouchard, Filip Peliwo and Shapovalov) to win a grand slam junior singles title when he won the US Open Junior Boys title. In the final, Auger-Aliassime beat Miomir Kecmanovic of Serbia 6–3, 6–0.

Auger-Aliassime also won his first professional tournament on the Futures Tour. He defeated Juan Manuel Benitez Chavarriaga of Colombia 7–5, 7–5 in Birmingham, Alabama, on clay.

Five Titles at the Futures and Challenger Level

In a span of two years, Auger-Aliassime won five titles in the Futures and Challenger levels. On 12 March 2017, he won the Canada F2 Futures event in Sherbrooke, Quebec, by beating Gleb Sakharov of France 3–6, 6–3, 6–4 in the final. Auger-Aliassime’s other tournament wins in 2017 came on European clay. On 18 June, he won the Lyon Challenger in France by beating Mathias Bourgue of France 6–4, 6–1 in the final. On 10 September, he won the Seville Challenger in Spain by beating Inigo Cervantes of Spain 6–7, 6–3, 6–3 in the final.

In 2018, Auger-Aliassime defended his Challenger title in Lyon by beating Johan Tatlot of France 6–7, 7–5, 6–2 in the final. He then beat Kamil Majchrzak of Poland 6–3, 6–2 in the final of the Tashkent Challenger in Uzbekistan. In the quarterfinals of Tashkent, Auger-Aliassime upset ATP veteran Denis Istomin of Uzbekistan 7–6, 6–3.

Auger-Aliassime became the youngest player ever to win an ATP Masters 1000 match in 2018 at age 17. He beat fellow Canadian Vasek Pospisil of Vernon, BC, 6–2, 7–6 in the first round of Indian Wells. In September of 2018, however, Auger-Aliassime needed to pull out of his first round match at the US Open against Shapovalov, due to a heart problem. He then had heart surgery to repair an irregular heartbeat.

First Full Season on ATP Tour

Auger-Aliassime had an outstanding first full season on the ATP Tour in 2019. He became the youngest player ever to reach the final of an ATP 500 event when he beat Pablo Cuevas of Uruguay 6–3, 3–6, 6–3 in the semifinals of the Rio Open in Brazil on 23 February 2019. Auger-Aliassime lost to Laslo Djere of Serbia 6–3, 7–5 in the final.

Auger-Aliassime then had a memorable March. At Indian Wells, he beat a Top 10 opponent for the first time, as he knocked off Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece 6–4, 6–2 in the second round. Then he became the youngest player ever to reach the semifinals of the Miami Open (18 years and seven months) when he beat Borna Coric of Croatia 7–6, 6–2 in the quarter-finals.

In 2019, Auger-Aliassime also qualified for the final of two ATP 250 events in Europe. On 25 May 2019, he reached the final of Lyon, France, before losing 6–4, 6–3 to Benoît Paire of France. On 16 June 2019, he reached the final of Stuttgart, Germany, before losing 6–4, 7–6 to Matteo Berrettini of Italy. On 14 October 2019, Auger-Aliassime moved to No. 17 in the ATP Rankings for men’s singles, after starting the season ranked No. 108.

2020 Season

Before the COVID-19 pandemic cancelled a significant portion of the 2020 ATP season, Auger-Aliassime reached two more ATP Finals. On 16 February, he made the final of the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament in Rotterdam, Netherlands, before losing 6–2, 6–4 to Gaël Monfils of France. On 23 February, Auger-Aliassime made the final of the Open 13 Provence in Marseille, France, before losing to Tsitsipas 6–3, 6–4.

Charitable Contributions

On 25 March 2020, Auger-Aliassime announced he was donating $5 for every point he won in 2019 and 2020 to the charity EduChange. It was also announced that the European bank BNP Paribas would donate $15 for every point Auger-Aliassime wins. The finances will assist the children of Togo with school support and scholarship kits. Auger-Aliassime also partnered with the nongovernment organization CARE, which raises awareness of girls and women who are fighting poverty.

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