Felix Auger-Aliassime turns 19 on Thursday and has the opportunity to celebrate it with his family in friends and friends at home in Montreal. The young gun who has made stellar progress so far in 2019 is competing at home Masters 1000 event, facing the fellow Canadian Vasek Pospisil in the opening round and hoping to earn enough points to find himself in the top-20 for the first time in a career, barely missing to achieve that last week in Washington.
Felix had to skip Montreal due to an injury two years ago and he is now ready to rumble in the draw in front of the home fans that came to support him from the very first practice session on Saturday. Auger-Aliassime already experienced deep Masters 1000 run in Miami when he had a 6-5 advantage in both sets against John Isner, wasting the opportunity to reach the final where he would have faced Roger Federer and hoping for an even better result in Montreal if he takes the pressure away and brings his best tennis.
"People were happy to come to watch me practice," Auger-Aliassime said. "It is a different feeling playing at home, I would be lying if I said I'm going on the court and it feels like any other tournament, it's special.
Hopefully, I can use that energy and support in a good way but there's a trap lying in the fact that there's a lot of attention. The pressure will be on me and I have to put that aside and focus on what I have to do prior to my first round and for the rest of the week.
I'm feeling really good, I have been playing well and the season has been very good so far. I really trust my abilities right now after improving my serve that has allowed me to perform better on all surfaces. I've become more consistent, with fewer highs and lows.
I just laughed when I saw I have to play against Vasek in the first round, we're good friends but once we step on the court we're going to compete at our best, just like we did at Wimbledon. The two times I've played him, I was able to dictate the points well and control the rallies. Both times, I served pretty well and secured my service games."