When Felix Auger-Aliassime arrived at the Pala Alpitour for his debut performance at the Nitto ATP Finals, the 22-year-old relished seeing his name among the season’s best eight players and reminisced on childhood memories as he located his locker.
“That’s a twist that’s special here,” Auger-Aliassime said. “Having your personal locker, your face on the door. I remember seeing behind the scenes videos of it growing up and I thought, ‘How cool is that!’ to have a personal locker. And here I am. When I got on site, it was the first thing I went for.
“I remember watching [the Nitto ATP Finals] for the first time in my early teenage years. I remember just being inspired by it and feeling that it would be amazing to be a part of that. Now that I’m here, it’s a full circle moment. It’s really special and I hope it’s not the last time.”
While the World No. 6 has achieved a lifelong dream, he is hungry for more. Felix, who is the youngest player in this year’s field, boasts a 56-25 match record this season. Only two men have collected more victories in 2022: Stefanos Tsitsipas (60) and Carlos Alcaraz (57). With the chance to close out the year with the most wins, Felix comes into the season final’s event with deep confidence.
On indoor hard courts, Felix has racked up a season-leading 27 wins and has collected each of his four titles (Rotterdam, Florence, Antwerp, Basel). In the latter part of the season, Felix went on a career-best 16 match-winning streak, including three straight titles, to help him seal a spot at the season finale in Turin.
“It’s one thing to believe in your process and in your work but it’s another to actually step up to the challenge,” Auger-Aliassime said. “I was kind of backed up against the wall to qualify after the US Open, there were some other guys who were big contenders. To go on a run like I did, at that moment, for me it showed a lot of character and mental strength to push through and make the best effort I can to qualify here.”
Felix, who is just the second Canadian (Raonic ‘14, ‘16) to play the Nitto ATP Finals in its 53-year history, will first look to avenge his Montreal loss to Casper Ruud, who upset him 6-1, 6-2 at his home tournament in August.
“That was a tough memory,” Auger-Aliassime said. “I lost pretty badly in front of my fans in my hometown. It was one of those days where you just want to leave the court at some point because nothing is working, you lose hope. I’m looking forward to the rematch and hopefully a very different scenario. I’m sure it’s going to be a hard-fought match but I believe in my chances to win.”
Felix is set to compete in the Green Group alongside Ruud, Taylor Fritz, and Rafael Nadal. The Nitto ATP Finals, which features the world’s best eight players, runs from 13-20 November.