Watch out for the Félix first round match!
ROTTERDAM | In his first game since his fourth-round elimination at the Australian Open, Félix Auger-Aliassime says he is ready to take back the collar and displays great confidence, but he takes nothing for granted.
< p>For this first duel, he will cross swords with Lorenzo Sonego who is 60th in the ATP. Auger-Aliassime saw up close that the Italian is capable of putting out a good performance against a much higher ranked player.
Sonego defeated Denis Shapolov in the duel between Canada and Italy in the Davis Cup semi-finals last November in Malaga in a battle lasting more than three hours.
“He serves much better than in previous years,” he explained. It is always a danger when you face a good server. He is also able to step up to the net when he sees an opportunity. “
” Sonego is a dangerous player and it's not an easy first game, continues FAA. I will have to play my best tennis at least at certain points in the match to move on to the next round. I feel ready, but he can also have a good game too. »
In a roster of only 32 players, Frédéric Fontang believes that there are no tourists.
“As in golf, the winners move from one tournament to another because the level is very close,” said the coach of Auger-Aliassime. The level of play is increasing and the gap is closing between the players every year due to the quality of the preparation. You need to maintain your level throughout the game and get off to a good start in a best-of-three game. In the only duel between the two players, Auger-Aliassime won in two sets in 2020 on clay in Hamburg, Germany.
Good state of mind
Despite the disappointment of the Australian Open, the 22-year-old racket claims to be in a good state of mind. “I had a bumpy tournament and not played at my best level, but the important thing is to stay disciplined in the line of conduct of what I want to do, he underlined. When I returned to Monaco, I took two or three days off and resumed training, working on the fundamentals. “
“I win most of my points on the first three strikes and we are not going to reinvent tennis, continues Auger-Aliassime. I also want to continue to improve my serve return and my backhand. »
Fontang agrees. “Félix had an average first Grand Slam, but he won games even though he was not playing his best tennis, which is very important and differentiates the best from all. His state of mind is fine. »
Live from Rotterdam
Third favorite of the 50th edition of the Rotterdam tournament, Auger-Aliassime is obviously on the program of the event, but his photo is also at the VIP entrance of the Rotterdam Ahoy in the company of Stefanos Tsitsipas, finalist in 2022 and favorite this year. After training for an hour on Monday with the Dane Holger Rune, Auger-Aliassime took part in a promotional activity for the tournament at the start of the afternoon, during which he signed autographs for about fifteen minutes. /strong>
After a training block in Monaco and another in Spain, “FAA” arrived in the Netherlands on Thursday for final preparation. Besides Rune, he also trained with Russian Daniil Medvedev and German Alexander Zverev.
50th edition of ABN Amro< /p>
For the 50th edition of the tournament, there are three former winners of the tournament. Auger-Aliassime last year as well as Andrey Rublev in 2021 and Stan Wawrinka in 2015. The latter, back from injury, can claim his protected classification. He made his debut on Monday night against Kazak Alexander Bublik.
Gaël Monfils was also expected to return to action. Away since his withdrawal in the round of 16 in Montreal last August, the Frenchman and new dad had benefited from a pass from the organizers, but he is not yet ready to make his return. Monfils won the 2019 and 2020 editions, the year in which it defeated “FAA” in the final.
The bike in the spotlight
Bikes are everywhere in Rotterdam. Residents ride their bicycles to get to work in the morning, to go to school, to do their shopping or simply for the pleasure of riding.
Reserved lanes are provided for cyclists in downtown as well as places to leave their bikes while they go about their business.