Tennis: a mother on the circuit

PARIS | At the age of 10, Félix Auger-Aliassime was going to a tournament abroad without his parents.

Tennis: a mother on the circuit

PARIS | At the age of 10, Félix Auger-Aliassime was going to a tournament abroad without his parents. And as far as she can remember, her mother never got a call from her little boy saying he was bored of home.

• Read also: Félix's great occasion

" Never ! laughs Marie Auger, who met Le Journal on Friday at Roland-Garros, a few hours before this victory which would give her son his ticket for this morning's clash against the Spaniard Rafael Nadal.

Yet the family is tightly knit. But Félix is ​​an independent, notes his mother.

“He was always very proud to be independent. Even today, he is the one who makes his decisions for his career. Of course, he consults his agent, his coaches, his parents. But he is very wise in his choices. »

So much so that neither Marie nor her father, Sam Aliassime, have traveled much with son. But this season is different. Ms. Auger, a college teacher, decided to take a half-year sabbatical to accompany her big boy on the circuit.

Until Wimbledon

From Rotterdam in February – where Félix won his first ATP title – she has traveled the planet by his side.

Marseille, Indian Wells, Miami, the European clay tour, and now Paris: she was everywhere, only returning to Quebec for a few days at the end of March. She will thus follow her son to Wimbledon.

"It's a decision that comes from me. I will be 50 this year, my son has been on the road since he was very young, she explains. There I thought it was the right time, while his career is going well. »

Marie Auger was also waiting for Felix to be ready. Because, remember, he is an independent. “For some years, he told us that it made him happy when we accompanied him to a tournament sometimes, but that he liked better to manage his things with his coaches. »

And Felix was ready. His mother does not go to the competition site with him every day, but she attends matches and some practices.

Is she nervous when her son is about to jump onto the field? "Not really, I learned to control it," she said. I tell myself that when he gets ready to play, the work has been done by his coaches. »

“There are times when I have palpitations, like at the end of the match. But it's like I'm on a plane and he's the pilot. »

Glamorous, but demanding

But the rest of the time, when she's not at the stadium, what does Marie Auger do? She visits. Because his son has played in a few beautiful cities this year, even before arriving in Paris. Rome, Barcelona... she is not bored.

But she sees how demanding the life of a professional athlete is.

“We often associate it with the glamorous aspect, but glamor is demanding! she says. We are always between two suitcases and decisions are made quickly. He loses at a tournament, and we go back the next day to another tournament, depending on the flights. »

"Sometimes we have time to go home to the south of France for a stopover, but often it's directly from one tournament to another. »

Like at home

Ms. Auger's presence brings some normalcy to this hectic life. Sometimes, in tournaments, the clan rents a house rather than staying in a hotel. This is not the case in Paris, but it will be at Wimbledon, in a month.

This allows Félix's mother to cook the meals and free the whole team from certain responsibilities.

“We have close ties with coaches, physiotherapists, she points out. It is not uncommon for us all to find ourselves at the same table.

“I believe that Félix feels this cohesion and that it is a healthy environment for him, adds Ms. Auger. It keeps him connected to his roots, but at the same time, he has all the freedom to emancipate himself in his sport. »

Autographs and selfies

Marie Auger has long "shared" her boy with the whole planet. He was only 15 years old and already, his early performances were talking internationally.

She sees it more and more. No matter the city, it is now difficult for the duo to go to a restaurant without the ninth in the world being challenged for autographs or selfies.

“As a parent, you are never prepared to have a child who has a public life,” she says. When I arrive in a city and see his picture plastered on the buses, there is something a little surreal!

“But for me, Felix remains Felix. When we are at home, I forget all that. But I know it's part of his career and he plays that role very well. He never gets impatient and is always very generous with his time. »

On the circuit, Félix Auger-Aliassime has the reputation of being a good guy. Polite, fair play. Well-behaved, in short.

Of course that makes his mother happy. She is even talked about by other players when she enters the transport that takes her to the different stadiums.

“Me it makes me even more happy when I am told that Félix is ​​a good person, that he is intelligent, because me as a parent, I did not raise a tennis player. I accompanied a child so that he was an adult who felt good about himself.

“It has always been a family project, with his father, even if we are divorced. And I look at him, and it's true that he is like that. But as a parent, you can't take all the credit for that. »

philosophy and economics

Very young, Félix and his sister Malika, two years his senior and who also played tennis, were surrounded by many adults. At the Auger-Aliassime, during family dinners or with friends, there was no table for the children.

“Our children have always interacted with a lot of adults. And that, it developed the fact that Félix discusses all kinds of subjects. As much about philosophy as about the economy or the war in Ukraine. He is curious, he is interested in many things. »

So even if his son stopped his studies after secondary 5, to focus on his career as a player, his mother notes that he remains interested in many subjects. “That too helps make him an eloquent person,” she believes.

But economics, philosophy, international politics... is your son still serious like that, Mrs. Auger?

" Oh no ! Felix loves humor. Again [Friday] at lunch, he came across a French humorist and he was showing me this. I find it so refreshing to see him like that.

“In tournaments, we often listen to films like Bon Cop, Bad Cop or Les Boys. And he screwed up! He's a serious guy, but off the pitch he loves to laugh. He does not have many opportunities to live his youth, but as soon as he has the opportunity, he takes advantage of it. »


Tennis was not originally Marie Auger's project, but that of Félix's father, Sam Aliassime, who also introduced his eldest, Malika.

The mother of the ninth world player played a little there, of course, when she met Sam Aliassime. If she still sometimes exchanges balls with her daughter, who "agrees to play at her level", she no longer does so with her son.

And so is the extended family. At one time, Auger-Aliassime struck a little with his relatives during corn roasts and other meetings. Not anymore. "It's his job, he no longer wants to play with his mother or his sister," says Marie Auger.

The latter does not call herself a “tennis fan”. "There are players that I get to know and love," she says, however. And sometimes I stay to see the other Canadians. »


Marie Auger is surprised when she hears Félix speaking in English. “Me, it fascinates me that he speaks both French and English. That is entirely up to him! she says.

Except for a few times, when traveling, when they had fun talking in English for an hour, the Auger-Aliassimes did not really practice the language of Shakespeare together.

“His English, he learned a little at school, but it is rare for a student to leave the school network completely bilingual. It was especially in the junior tournaments, with children from all over, that he started to speak English, ”says his mother.

Moreover, if he does not speak these languages ​​fluently, the Quebecer is also able to order at the restaurant in Spanish and Italian, underlines Ms. Auger.


A weight fell off Felix's shoulders when he won his first ATP title in Rotterdam in February. “When he came to join us in the box, there was a moment when all the tension fell,” his mother said.

But the pride of L'Ancienne-Lorette is not finished with the pressure. “We talked about it after its title, says Marie Auger. It is difficult to manage the expectations of the media, of analysts. But there, after a victory, people are waiting for his second. They also wonder if he will win a Grand Slam. »

In this context, Félix's mother welcomes the rise of young people like the Spaniard Carlos Alcaraz, with whom the 21-year-old player will be able to manage the expectations weighing on the new generation.