Felix Auger-Aliassime will channel what he deems a “champion mentality” as he looks to build on his most consistent season to date at this week’s Citi Open. Seeded second behind Rafael Nadal in Washington, D.C., the 20-year-old faces a tricky opener against his Roland Garros conqueror from this year, Italian veteran Andreas Seppi.
Despite that first-round boilover in Paris, the Canadian has not dwelled on the result. There have been ample positives since, including a second final of the season in Stuttgart, a run to the semi-finals in Halle and his maiden Grand Slam quarter-final at Wimbledon.
“I mean I’ve tried to come with consistent work ethic and effort in every week,” Auger-Aliassime said. “There’s been ups and downs and I think that’s the kind of season. We play so many tournaments, the season is 11 months so you’re never going to be always up but I felt like I’ve been able to capitalise well whenever I was feeling well, whenever I was playing well, to have some good results.
“It could sometimes be a little bit better, it could be worse, but in the end I’m happy where I am reaching the Top 15 ranking, my first Grand Slam quarter-final. Things are moving in the right direction for me.”
Under the guidance of Frederic Fontang and Toni Nadal, Auger-Aliassime said they had continued to build on his attacking game style – a player unafraid to come forward, while maintaining consistency. The mental component would always be a work in progress.
“This mentality with Toni, this champion mentality that I call it, for us we’re trying to build this mentality where I’m in the present of being humble, not too worried about the future, not too frustrated about the past and I feel like that’s what we’ve been trying to do and that’s the vision to be hopefully one day… close to that near-perfect balance of being in the present.”
While still searching for his maiden ATP Tour title, Auger-Aliassime finds himself second in the ATP Race to Milan for the NextGen ATP Finals and 15th in the FedEx ATP Race to Turin. He could yet qualify for both as he shifts his focus to the North American hard-court swing.
“I think the start of the year I was playing well on the hard courts so I think I’m going to play well now on the hard court swing in the next couple of weeks to gain some confidence and bring some good results,” he said.
“I try to take it one week at a time. There are so many weeks in the season. I feel like to be consistent you really have to make an effort to stay in the present.
“It’s easy to catch yourself looking at the future and hoping I’m making either Turin [or Milan] Finals for me so I try to stay in the present. We don’t know what the future holds.”