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Auger-Aliassime looks to put injury woes behind him

Felix Auger-Aliassime Felix Auger-Aliassime - The Canadian Press

Felix Augier-Aliassime admits his tennis season hasn’t gone the way he wanted.

Illness, injuries and early round exits have all played a role. But he says he feels in a good space mentally and is ready to turn his season around.

"It's obvious that this hasn't been the season that I would have hoped for so far," he said, from Paris. "Luckily for me, it's not over."

One of his main struggles, he says, is knee injuries that have curtailed performances at the Miami Open, the Dubai Tennis Championships and Indian Wells.

He also suffered a first-round exit at Wimbledon, despite coming in as the 11th seed and lost in the fourth round of the Australian Open.

It's been tough for the former No. 6 ranked player back in Nov. 2022.

"In the end I'm OK mentally," Auger-Aliassime said. "I'm positive about it all. I've had time to be home and train and try to get better with the knee and kind of look at, you know, where it's coming from and also resolve that problem in order for the future.

"If I can bring that physicality back on the court, I know that the results will start coming a little by little or maybe even quicker because I know myself more and more through the years."

Despite the early exit on the grass at the All England Club, the 22-year-old Montrealer remains the top Canadian on the ATP Tour, staying at the No. 12 spot.

Denis Shapovalov of Richmond Hill, Ont., who advanced to the fourth round of the men's draw, moved up six spots to No. 23.

For now, Auger-Aliassime says, the focus is on remaining strong mentally as he continues working on securing a spot in the top 10 ranking.

"Mentally, of course, there's ups and downs. We don't feel as confident every week. But I feel stable mentally, I feel in a good place. I'm very focused and driven and I feel that I'm confident in my ability.

"I know I'll be ready mentally to play, you know, big matches and to play for important titles."

He'll next be in action in Washington, D.C., at the Citi Open which he enters as the No. 4 seed.

From there, he'll then compete at the National Bank Open in Toronto.

Auger-Aliassime said he's looking to turn his fortunes around in front of a home crowd and at a tournament he's never won.

He lost in the quarterfinals in the 2022 version of the competition.

"It's always an important tournament outside, of course, the Grand Slams," he said. "But (the National Bank Open), it's always an important one. As a player, it's always nice to win in front of a home crowd. It's nice to win in Canada for me, so hopefully this is one tournament that I can win in my career."

He will also be in Vancouver, Sept. 22-24, to help Team World defend its Laver Cup title against the star-studded Team Europe.

Last year, Auger-Aliassime teamed up with American Jack Sock to down Andy Murray and Matteo Berrettini in doubles action, then posted a stunning singles win over Novak Djokovic to give World a lead that ultimately turned into the team's first Laver Cup title.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 20, 2023.