The Jockey Club Brasileiro in Rio de Janeiro will stage the biggest men's tennis tournament in South America between February 18-24, joining the ATP Tour in 2014 when Rafael Nadal claimed the inaugural title. David Ferrer, Pablo Cuevas, Dominic Thiem and Diego Schwartzman also secured their name on the list of champions, with a solid field ready to fight for the crown in the third week of February on the Guga Kuerten Court.
After giving the first couple of wild cards to Thiago Seyboth Wild and Thiago Monteiro, the organizers have decided to award the third invitation to one of the most promising youngsters on the Tour, Felix Auger-Aliassime.
Ranked 103rd, an 18-year-old has been on the verge of entering the top-100 as the first player born in 2000, heading to South America after delivering the deciding third point for his country against Slovakia in Davis Cup Qualifiers.
Felix was supposed to play in the qualifying round of Buenos Aires this week but he received a wild card to enter the main draw directly, facing Christian Garin on Monday night. Rio Open will be the 13th ATP tournament for Auger-Aliassime and the third at ATP 500 level after Rotterdam and Vienna in 2018, looking to score the first win at this level.
After a knee injury in December 2017 and poor start of the following season, Felix decided to spend spring and almost the entire summer on clay courts, defending the Challenger title in Lyon and losing in the final of Blois in the following week.
"Hello everyone. I'll be coming to Rio for the Rio Open in a couple of weeks, I'm very excited to head to Brazil for the first time, I hope to see a lot of you coming and support me."