February 19, 2024

Open Court


Page turned on Indian Wells, Auger-Aliassime looks ahead to a Miami run

MIAMI, Fla. – The loss to Carlos Alcaraz in the quarterfinals of the BNP Paribas Open was a tough one to swallow for Félix Auger-Aliassime – a wakeup call, perhaps, on just how high the young Spaniard’s level is at its best and how many of the other players will simply have to lift theirs.

But on to the next.

Okay, maybe not quite, as Auger-Aliassime and Alcaraz took to the practice court earlier this week in Miami and practiced together.

Never a bad plan to take every opportunity to gain some intel on a tough rival.

Here’s what it looked like on the day, when the stands were packed for the defending champion Spaniard and with plenty of snowbirds and FAA fans around as well.

Impressively, Team Felix made the long walk from the locker room on foot – only to be buzzed by Team Carlitos as they whizzed by in a golf cart.

(Moments later, a cart with a film crew following closely behind Alcaraz nearly buzzed them for good).

Turning the page, taking the positives

“I turned the page, no problem. (Monday) I watched the match again. I like taking a few days, thinking about other things, and then watching it again with my head rested, without emotion,” Auger-Aliassime said. “There were some good things. He did some really good things. I saw a few things I can tweak a bit or do better.

“I’ll try to do it, but it’s never easy. It always look easier when you’re watching yourself saying, ‘I should have done this or that’ “

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Auger-Alassime said you can work on elements of the game during practice. But when you’re going back-to-back with tournaments, there isn’t much time to change much.

“If I find myself in a position again when I’m in a final or in another tournament against players of that calibre, I’ll try again. I’ve had lots of quarterfinals and semifinals; that’s the level where I’ve lost – to Medvedev, to Alcaraz. So I’ll try to do better.”

Auger-Aliassime practices with lifelong friend Alexis Galarneau earlier in the week in Miami.

Watching yourself play

Open Court asked what felt different on the court, compared to what it looked like when he watched himself.

“It feels, when you’re watching it, that you have a little more time than you felt when you were on the court,” he said. “I felt a lot more rushed,” he said.

Auger-Aliassime said that you see the zones better than when you’re playing, and you can see what you’re doing well, or less well. And what your opponent does well, or less well.

He’ll begin Saturday against Brazilian lefty Thiago Monteiro, whom he faced in the first round of the US Open in 2020 (the no-fans event).

That one was tough – Auger-Aliassime won it in four, but three of the sets went to tight tiebreaks.

He also beat him in straight sets at Wimbledon in 2021.

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