LONDON | Félix Auger-Aliassime is categorical: even if the scholarships for the Wimbledon tournament will still be generous this year, he prefers to earn points in the ATP rankings.
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Met at the end of his training, the ninth racket in the world took a few minutes to chat with the representative of the Journal de Montréal.
In the past few weeks, the ATP and WTA have made an unpopular decision. The two associations will not award points in their respective Wimbledon rankings. Thus, several players will slip a few ranks after the major tournament even if they deliver good performances on the London turf.
Points are worth gold in the eyes of Quebecers.
“If you give me the choice between points and money, I take the points. Always the points, mentioned Auger-Aliassime. I'm lucky to be in a sport where you can make money the way we do.
“It is not the same reality for all players. For many, qualifying for Wimbledon and having a big scholarship will help them pay for their year and their coach.
“For me, I was lucky. The money came, but my priority was always to earn points, move up the leaderboard and improve to become a better player.
“My goals have never been monetary. I would rather have points with less money than the other way around.”
More motivated than ever
Despite everything, Auger-Aliassime found a source of motivation.
“I will play for prestige. I am in a situation where I do not know what will happen, We do not know how the table can be organized.
“If I play my best level, I could end up in the semi-finals or the final. For me, every Grand Slam is an opportunity. I approach it like all the others.
With the absence of Russian players like Daniil Medvedev and Andrey Rublev, the door could open for Fred Fontang's protege.
"I don't know if the tournament will have a special flavor because of the absence of the Russian players," said the 21-year-old athlete. In 2020, during the US Open, we wondered if there was going to be an asterisk because of the COVID. Novak Djokovic had been disqualified.
“Medvedev and Rublev are very good players, but they weren't the favorites to win the tournament. It will be the same title as usual.
The loss of his points collected at Wimbledon in 2021 will not hurt him too much. We are talking about a drop of one or two places in the next ATP survey.
The Quebecer does not hide it: Wimbledon is his favorite tournament. And we can very well understand it.
"It's always nice to go back to a place where you have good memories," Auger-Aliassime said. I had some good times last year (defeat in the quarter-finals).
“This is where I won my first Grand Slam match. It's a tournament that I love. Everything is wonderful. It's nice to come back here."
In the first round, he will face the American Max Cressy, 60th racket in the world. If the name of Cressy rings a bell with certain amateurs, it is normal.
He won the challenger tournament in Drummondville last year. Cressy, who is 6-foot-6, is a big waiter. Auger-Aliassime will have to find a way to give him a hard time in return for serve.
Confirmed at the Laver Cup
This week, Auger-Aliassime confirmed his presence at the Laver Cup which will take place next September in London. He will be part of the World Team, notably in the company of Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.
“I loved my experience last year. To play with the best players in the world in a competition where it's full all weekend. There is a great atmosphere.
“We don't often get the chance to play with teammates like the ATP Cup or the Davis Cup. It's a format I love."