Following a string of successes, including a Wimbledon quarter-final and a semi-final at the US Open, Félix Auger-Aliassime is now ranked 11th in the world, his highest position yet. At 10th in the Race to Turin, he is in the running for the Masters, one of his goals at the start of the season.


In the literal sense, the bigger the goal, the easier it is to score. In a figurative sense, the exact opposite is true. The bigger a goal, the harder it is to achieve. Walking 100m is much easier than running a marathon. But Félix Auger-Aliassime is not a man to be afraid of stepping up the pace. Ranked 21st in the world at the start of the 2021 season, he publicly announced his considerable ambitions. Without downplaying or shying away from the potential resulting pressure, and despite his best Grand Slam result at the time being a round of 16, he stated his ambition of achieving a place at the Masters.

“I want to develop my game in the right direction, which is what will eventually lead to results,” he explained during a question and answer session with fans for We Are Tennis. “I hope to get close to the top 10 and maybe qualify for the end-of-season Masters.” With two months to go until that deadline of the Turin Masters, he is within touching distance of turning his words into action. At 10th place in the Race this week, he is 355 points behind Casper Ruud – remembering that Rafael Nadal, at 7th place, ended his season before the US Open due to his injured left foot.

Big points available next week

Several tournaments can make the difference in the race for the Masters. In addition to the various ATP 250s and despite the cancellation of the entire Asian tour due to Covid-19, an ATP 500 – in Vienna – as well as two Masters 1000 – in Bercy and Indian Wells – are still slated to go ahead. Before the important BNP Paribas Open, to be held in the Californian desert from 7 October, Félix Auger-Aliassime is due to play in San Diego (ATP 250) this week. To be in with a chance, he needs to face Grigor Dimitrov, having garnered plenty of experience against the behemoths of tennis at the Laver Cup in Boston last weekend.

“Coming here (to Boston), my goal was obviously to win (Team Word eventually lost 14-1), but also to learn, to try to become a better player,” he explained at a press conference. “Advice and analysis from someone like John (McEnroe, Team World captain) are very valuable to me. He has so much knowledge about the game.” Learning, progressing, working, over and over again – that is Canadian’s mantra. With that in mind, he told us at the end of November 2020, during a press video-conference, that he wanted to work with “a mentor or advisor with very high-level experience. Someone who has worked with a Grand Slam winner or has won a Grand Slam himself.”

“I think I deserve to be here”

In mid-April, he formalised his collaboration with Toni Nadal, who had come to support his main coach, Frédéric Fontang. After a disappointing clay season in terms of results, the hard work has finally paid off. At Wimbledon, the home of strawberries and cream, “FAA” won his first Grand Slam quarter-final, three weeks after a prestigious victory over Roger Federer at the Halle Open. Two months after his London adventure, he achieved an even greater feat in New York. Following a quarter-final in Cincinnati where Stéfanos Tsitsipás made him look in the mirror to see where he too could improve, he reached the semi-finals of the US Open.

There was no time for resting on his laurels, however. “Now I need to get back to work,” he declared after his 6/4 7/5 6/2 defeat to the eventual winner Daniil Medvedev. “To be in the final would have been even better, but it has been a positive fortnight for me. This result has put me in a good position for the Masters. I think I deserve to be here. This is what I work for. But it’s not over, I need to keep pushing in the right direction.” Towards the goal, in order to get as close as possible, until all he needs to do is smash the ball into the back of the net.