"I don't know if it's ever happened to a player before": Felix Auger-Aliassime befuddled after walkover laden Madrid Open run

Saturday, 04 May 2024 at 11:02
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Felix Auger-Aliassime for the third time this tournament benefitted from a walkover with Jiri Lehecka deciding against continuing at the Madrid Open at 3-3. He will now face Andrey Rublev on Sunday afternoon and he was left befuddled about his week so far.
Not only Lehecka but against Jannik Sinner and Jakub Mensik he has sailed straight through meaning he has only played three full games this week. “It’s crazy. I don’t know if it’s ever happened to a player before. It’s a weird situation to be in," said Auger-Aliassime. "It’s never happened to me in my career so far. A withdrawal or walkover or retirement of this sort.. Back to back like this. I couldn’t believe what was happening when I saw his back failed him & blocked on him. I feel really bad for him. I’ve felt with injuries myself. We can all imagine what it feels like to come out on a night like this hoping to win and go through. Having to battle with your opponent and not being able to play. I have a lot of empathy for Jiri. For me, I can’t do anything but try to prepare for Sunday."
But the Canadian doesn't see it as a sign on his behalf saying that a lot of ATP players are getting injured and withdrawing. “I don’t think it’s about me right now. It’s about these players. Jannik had to pull out of the tournament. We saw Carlos pulling out of Rome today. Crazy times for the elite of our sport, withdrawing from many events.. For me it’s a weird rhythm having not played that much and being in the finals. I can just focus on the first week I had. I played a great match with Casper. I gave myself an opportunity to be in the QF and then crazy circumstances happened. Not much else to say but to prepare for Sunday.”
Next up is Rublev and he was full of praise for his next opponent saying he deserved to be back in a final. “I’ve always had 3 set battles with Rublev. Even back in 2018, I was much younger but it’s always entertaining. It’s always a tough battle. I had a close one with him in Rotterdam this year, I had some match points, so hopefully it can go my way this time. He’s always a player that fights hard and is always present every tournament. We all have highs and lows as players but he’s always there. That’s why we’re seeing him again in a big final like this. He really deserves it.”

Felix Auger Aliassime on Jiri Lehecka’s retirement from their match in Madrid “One of the weirdest weeks of tennis you’ve had. In 3 out of 4 matches, your opponent didn’t start or finish the match.” Felix: “It’s crazy. I don’t know if it’s ever happened to a player before. It’s…


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