Felix Auger-Aliassime makes startling revelation after three players retired vs him

Some lamented that Auger-Aliassime was lucky to reach the Madrid final but the Canadian insists it was not all perfect for him either.

by Dzevad Mesic
Felix Auger-Aliassime makes startling revelation after three players retired vs him
© Getty Images Sport - Clive Brunskill

Felix Auger-Aliassime revealed after the Madrid Masters final that he was also dealing with certain issues throughout the tournament but was just lucky enough that he wasn't forced to retire or withdraw like some of his opponents. 

En route to making his first Masters final in Madrid, Auger-Aliassime completed just three of his six opening matches. It all started in the third round, when Auger-Aliassime up by a set and a break on Jakub Mensik when the Czech retired. Then in the quarterfinal and semifinal, Auger-Aliassime was given a walkover by Jannik Sinner and saw Jiri Lehecka retire just six games into their semifinal match. 

Not everyday you see a player reaching a final in such a way and that led to some comments about Auger-Aliassime's run that probably weren't the best to hear or read. But after falling just short in the Madrid final to Andrey Rublev, Auger-Aliassime revealed that he also wasn't at his best and he was actually close to giving a walkover to Mensik before their third-round match. 

Also after the Madrid final, Auger-Aliassime shared that he heard "a lot of players" complaining about some kind of a virus that around.

"It was a weird week. Yeah, I was also struggling with my stomach mid-tournament. Wasn't even sure if one day I could play. And Mensik pulled out that day," Auger-Aliassime said after losing the Madrid final to Rublev.

Felix Auger-Aliassime
Felix Auger-Aliassime © Getty Images Sport - Julian Finney

Auger-Aliassime on feeling unwell in the third set against Rublev 

After winning the first set versus Rublev, Auger-Aliassime lost the next two sets in tight ways as the seventh-seeded Russian went on to claim a 4-6 7-5 7-5 win. 

Up by a set, Auger-Aliassime routinely held on to his second-set service games until the 12th game - when he got broken by Rublev and saw the final go into a decider. 

After losing his serve in the critical moments of the second set, Auger-Aliassime started to struggle on his serve as he was constantly facing pressure from Rublev. While Auger-Aliassime managed to save a total of five breaks points that he faced in the second, fourth and eighth games, he couldn't do the same in the 12th game when serving to stay in the match. 

Later, Auger-Aliassime revealed that he was battling cramps and he was just fighting to survive in the third set and at least try to give himself some chance of winning. 

"From the start of the third set, as soon as it started, I started, yeah, feeling some cramps, both my legs. Then it was, like, just trying to hold serves and, I don't know, had many, many thoughts," Auger-Aliassime revealed.

Felix Auger-Aliassime
Felix Auger-Aliassime© Getty Images Sport - Julian Finney

Auger-Aliassime on Rublev's shock revelation

When reflecting on his Madrid final win, Rublev made a revelation that left the tennis community. During the entire tournament, Rublev apparently battled a myserious illness and he also had to anesthetize his foot after suffering from a swollen toe. 

Asked about Rublev's revelation, Auger-Aliassime gave credit to the Russian for fighting through and that's when the Canadian revealed that there were more players experiencing some kind of health issues in Madrid. 

"It's, like, weird, I don't know. And then I think that, just dealing through - I mean, credit to him, as well, and like he said, the medical staff, in his speech, because I think a lot of players, there was kind of a virus maybe in Madrid, I heard, were dealing with things," Auger-Aliassime said.

"And I think all that, even though I was lucky that I didn't really play the quarters and semis, all that added up, came out today with the cramps, I think it was physically... I haven't cramped much in my career, so yeah, I think it was just the body being tired of, you know, fighting a virus during the week, yeah."

Felix Auger-Aliassime and Andrey Rublev
Felix Auger-Aliassime and Andrey Rublev © Getty Images Sport - Julian Finney

After not having much success in 2023, Auger-Aliassime also didn't enjoy a great season before coming to Madrid. But at Caja Magica, 23-year-old Auger-Aliassime managed to reach his first Masters final but also find some game and momentum. 

And now even though he didn't win Madrid, Auger-Aliassime is leaving to the Rome Masters with his confidence increased. 

“Even with the circumstances, there were some good moments where I showed a good leve. Obviously it was a weird week with all the walkovers, but I'm going to head into next week with the same confidence I came in this week actually, this tournament, I felt like I could play well," Auger-Aliassime said.

When Rome starts this week, Auger-Aliassime - who improved to No. 20 in the rankings on Monday - will be making his sixth appearance at the tournament. In the past, Auger-Aliassime's best result at Foro Italico came in 2022 when he made the quarterfinal before losing to Novak Djokovic.

Felix Auger-aliassime