LONDON | Félix Auger-Aliassime is categorical: even if the scholarships for the Wimbledon tournament will still be generous this year, he prefers to earn points in the ATP rankings.
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Met at the end of his training, the ninth racket in the world took a few minutes to discuss with the representative of the Montreal Journal.
In the past few weeks, the ATP and WTA have made an unpopular decision. The two associations will not award points in their respective rankings at Wimbledon. Thus, several players will slip a few ranks after the major tournament even if they deliver good performances on the London turf.
Points are worth gold in the eyes of Quebecers.
“If you give me the choice between points and money, I take the points. Always the points, mentioned Auger-Aliassime. I’m lucky to be in a sport where you can make money the way we do.
“It’s not the same reality for all players. For many, qualifying for Wimbledon and having a big scholarship will help them pay for their year and their coach.
“For me, I was lucky. The money came, but my priority was always to earn points, move up the rankings and improve to become a better player.
“My goals have never been monetary. I would rather have points with less money than the other way around. »
More motivated than ever
Despite everything, Auger-Aliassime found a source of motivation.
“I will play for prestige. I’m in a situation where I don’t know what will happen, We don’t know how the table can be organized.
“If I play my best level, I could end up in the semi-finals or the final. For me, every Grand Slam is an opportunity. I approach it like all the others. »
With the absence of Russian players like Daniil Medvedev and Andrey Rublev, the door could open for the protege of Fred Fontang.
“I don’t know if the tournament will have a particular flavor because of the absence of the Russian players,” said the 21-year-old athlete. In 2020, during the US Open, we wondered if there was going to be an asterisk because of the COVID. Novak Djokovic had been disqualified.
“Medvedev and Rublev are very good players, but they weren’t the favorites to win the tournament. It will be the same title as usual. »
The loss of his points collected at Wimbledon in 2021 will not hurt him too much. We are talking about a drop of one or two places during the next ATP survey.
The Quebecer does not hide it: Wimbledon is his favorite tournament. And we can very well understand it.
“It’s always nice to go back to a place where you have good memories,” said Auger-Aliassime. I had some good times last year (defeat in the quarter-finals).
“This is where I won my first Grand Slam match. It’s a tournament that I love. Everything is wonderful. It’s nice to come back here. »
In the first round, he will face the American Max Cressy, 60th racket in the world. If the name Cressy reminds some fans of something, it’s normal.
He won the challenger tournament in Drummondville last year. Cressy, who is 6-foot-6, is a big waiter. Auger-Aliassime will have to find a way to give him a hard time in return for serve.
Confirmed at the Laver Cup
This week, Auger-Aliassime confirmed his presence at the Laver Cup, which will take place next September in London. He will be part of the world team, in particular with Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.
“I loved my experience last year. To play with the best players in the world in a competition where it’s full all weekend. There is a great atmosphere.
“We don’t often have the chance to play with teammates like at the ATP Cup or the Davis Cup. It’s a format that I like. »
Echoes of Big Ben
When I arrived, it was impossible to take a train to the city center. The reason ? The outbreak of a three-day strike in the railway sector. The largest in 30 years. The union represents over 40,000 workers. We can understand the British to be nervous as the summer season approaches.
A tourist trap
At the airport, I met someone who offered me a taxi at a “friendly” price for the trip to my hotel. My fare is 100 pounds sterling (122 Canadian dollars) he told me. I start calculating the exchange rate quickly. He asks me to pay cash before the race in addition. Despite his insistence, I declined and decided to keep my plan A. He ran away as quickly as he appeared in front of me. Welcome to London !
The mess everywhere
Much has been made of the chaotic situation at Montreal-Trudeau airport. Dear readers, we must console ourselves, it is not better elsewhere. When I arrived at London’s Heathrow airport, the observation was similar. There were dozens of suitcases lying around everywhere. The queues for the various counters were as long as in Montreal. When we compare ourselves, we console ourselves.