Felix Auger-Aliassime’s growth process has come to a halt in recent months. The Canadian player has not yet managed to win his first ATP tournament and in early 2021 he lost the seventh final of his career in the major circuit at the ATP 250 Melbourne 2 tournament.
Auger-Aliassime's problems seem to concern the mental aspect rather than the technical one; the player born in 2000 hears the matches and often fails to express his best tennis in the important moments. Precisely for this reason, the Canadian has decided to rely on Toni Nadal and add an important figure to his team.
The collaboration between the two began during the season on clay, and it is therefore still difficult to judge this new path. In a recent interview with SRF, the Spanish coach talked about his relationship with Auger-Aliassime and the return of Roger Federer.
Toni explained: "I am lucky to work with Felix, because he has great potential. Roland Garros? It is always special to come back here, even if this year will be a completely different experience. I was with Rafa, now I'm with Felix.
Have I ever thought about coaching Federer? He is so good that he doesn't need my help and he would never come to me. It is clear that it would be a dream come true for all coaches; everyone dreams of working with him someday.
He is certainly one of the best tennis players in history, if not the best ever." Finally, Toni Nadal commented on the Roland Garros draw, which placed Federer, Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal in the same part of the board for the first time in the history of a Grand Slam.
He said: "I first checked Felix's scoreboard, his opponent in the first round match and the players he could face later, then I realized the draw of Federer, Djokovic and Nadal. They are on the same side because of the positions they occupy in the standings; so it was something that could happen."
Roland Garros 2021 men's draw: Federer, Nadal and Djokovic on the same side!
Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer on the same side of the Roland Garros 2021 main draw. The first verdict from Paris has an important specific weight.
The world number one, called to a rather soft debut with Tennys Sandgren and a second round with one between Lucas Pouille and Pablo Cuevas, could find Ugo Humbert in the third round and presumably one between David Goffin and Alex de Minaur in the round of 16.
In short: assuming a quarter-final with Roger Federer appears premature, if only in conditions of absolute normality, but definitely suggestive. The Swiss champion, who will have to wait for the conclusion of the qualifiers to know his first opponent, could have Marin Cilic in the second round, Taylor Fritz in the worst case scenario in the third and presumably Matteo Berrettini in the round of 16.
On the way to the Italian e number one, a qualified player, Federico Coria and probably Felix Auger Aliassime. Called among other things to test Andreas Seppi in the first round. The thirteen-time champion of the tournament Rafael Nadal, favored for duty, then falls in the second segment of the draw.
After Alexei Popyrin, one between Hugo Gaston and Richard Gasquet in the second round and probably Lorenzo Sonego, for the Spaniard there could be Jannik Sinner again. The player who put him most in difficulty last season on the red brick of Bois de Boulogne.
After Sinner, Nadal could have Andrey Rublev and Djokovic. The 2021 edition of Roland Garros could be decided before the third Sunday. Alexander Zverev's main obstacle on the way to the quarter-finals responds to the name of Roberto Bautista Agut.
Hypothetical, of course, with Dominic Thiem. Finalist in 2018 and 2019, yes, but with a balance of three wins and three defeats on red this season. Fabio Fognini also orbits on the same side of the board, called to the Gregoire Barrere test in the first round and possibly to the challenge with one between Marton Fucsovics and Gilles Simon in the second.
Number two in seeding is Daniil Medvedev, still without success in Paris. The first round challenge with the crazy horse Alexandr Bublik for the Russian is fascinating and far from obvious. Obligatory favorite in the last segment of the board Stefanos Tsitsipas: the match with Jeremy Chardy at the debut is soft in a completely theoretical line.