"I'm going to head into next week with the same confidence": Felix Auger-Aliassime takes stock positively despite the defeat to Rublev in the Madrid Open final.

Monday, 06 May 2024 at 02:20
Felix Auger-Aliassime reached the final of the Madrid Open after three walkovers along the way, only to fall to Andrey Rublev in his first Masters 1000 final. The 23-year-old Canadian started strong in the first set but couldn't maintain his level until the end of the match, ultimately conceding the title by 6-4, 5-7, 5-7.
Despite the loss in the final, the young player emerged proud of his performance in Madrid: “Even with the circumstances, there were some good moments where I showed a good level,” Auger-Aliassime said after losing to Andrey Rublev in Sunday’s championship match. “Obviously it was a weird week with all the walkovers, but I'm going to head into next week with the same confidence I came in this week actually, this tournament, I felt like I could play well.”

Felix Auger-Aliassime hopes to maintain his confidence the rest of the clay swing

His campaign in Madrid has propelled him to world No. 17, earning him a seeded position in the Rome Open and Roland Garros. Auger-Aliassime acknowledged that he faces the upcoming challenges with good confidence: “Rome is the same thing. I feel like it's a tournament where I have had good memories, as well, in the past. I'm going to try to just keep going, keep doing the things I'm doing well, not put too much pressure, expectations that I need to be perfect, and enjoy. Enjoy the days and learn from the downs, stay cool and take it easy.”
During the final against Rublev, the Canadian saved eight break points against him, but both in the second and third sets, he faltered just before the tie-break: “It’s a long match, three sets, many games. I think overall I served well, as good as I could. But from the baseline and the return I felt like there are matches where I do a little bit better,” Auger-Aliassime said.
“[I was] not finding precision as much as other times on certain shots, the return, coming in early and trying to put some pressure, but then not being precise. So not having this tool of mine that I can have, putting pressure on the return [of his] second serve early, and then the backhand wasn't finding as much precision as well on the crosscourts and down-the-lines.
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Felix Auger-Aliassime lost his first Masters 1000 final and holds a record of 5-10 in finals
“That part, the first set was great, but then the second set, wasn't quite the best. But then at the end, [I was] just fighting with what I had. I think my serve was keeping me through the match, and I was really hoping to find a way to get a break or something. But yeah, wasn't meant to be.”
“From the start of the third set, as soon as it started, I started feeling some cramps, both my legs. Then it was just trying to hold serve and, I don't know, I had many, many thoughts. I was a bit disappointed with how things were going,” Auger-Aliassime said.
“I was trying to manage it, trying to stay there, obviously knowing that I could serve well. I was just, like, ‘Every serve I've got to serve as good as I can’, and I was able to until 6-5. And then, it's not rocket science. Two double faults in the [final] game, and I don't know, one more mistake probably from my part.”
“I just want to say he was deserving to win today,” Auger-Aliassime said.

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