Assertiveness more than adjustment is key to beating buddy Denis Shapovalov says Felix Auger-Aliassime.
The Canadian clash between talented young stars and former roommates will be the pair’s fifth pro-level meeting. They’ve split the prior four matches with Auger-Aliassime prevailing in straight-sets at the Australian Open in February and in their lone clay-court clash at the 2019 Madrid. The seventh-seeded Shapovalov won both of their meetings at the US Open.
The 20-year-old Auger-Aliassime says there are no surprises between the pair, which is why taking the initiative in exchanges is crucial.
“We’ve played each other on clay before,” Auger-Aliassime said. “Of course it’s good I won the last time, but definitely a tough match. I’m sure we both want to win.
“He’s gonna bring his best tennis. He’s going to adjust from last time I will also try to find solutions on court. The main thing is focusing on my game really rather than adjusting too much.”
Playing his second tournament with coach Toni Nadal in his corner, Auger-Aliassime streaked through nine consecutive games to defeat 17-year-old Italian Lorenzo Musetti today.
The 10th-seeded Auger-Aliassime said focusing on daily improvement while aiming toward winning his first title after seven ATP finals and cracking the Top 10 are his ultimate goals.
“I want to improve: that’s the way I’m gonna win more matches and I’m gonna put myself in position to win more titles,” Auger-Aliassime said. “Every year to win a title more than one would be amazing would be great. I think I have to keep improving there’s no other way.
“If I’m not playing at a high level than I don’t deserve it yet. So I need to improve, that’s my main goal this year. I would love to be part of Top 10 or the Masters at the end of the year, I have to see how I can do it. The main focus is to keep working well to improve.”
Photo credit: Barcelona Open BancSabadell – Trofeo Conde de Godo