Felix Auger-Aliassime of Canada returns to Alex De Minaur of Australia during their boy’s singles match on day eleven of the Wimbledon Tennis Championships in London, Thursday, July 7, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, Ben Curtis

Canada’s Auger-Aliassime focusing on clay with long-term goals in mind

Canada’s Auger-Aliassime focusing on clay with long-term goals in mind

After bowing out in the second round of qualifying at the French Open, Canada’s Felix Auger-Aliassime sat down with his coaches and decided to make a short-term change with a long-term goal in mind.

The 17-year-old from Montreal opted to extend his run on clay courts and skip the grass-court season. It’s a move that appears to be paying off.

Auger-Aliassime won an ATP Challenger tournament in Lyon after his appearance at Roland Garros and reached the final a week later in Blois, France.

Rather than face a potential early qualifying exit at a grass-court event like Wimbledon, Auger-Aliassime has enjoyed some deep runs on the lower-level circuit while playing on a slower surface where rallies tend to be longer.

The goal is to maximize that court time, soak up the experience and use it as a building block for the future.

“To be humble and to play Challengers, I think it’s good for his mentality,” said Louis Borfiga, Tennis Canada’s vice-president of high performance. “He has to understand that it’s a long way to be a champion … I think it’s the right mentality for the future.”

Considered one of the best prospects in the sport, Auger-Aliassime has already risen to No. 152 in the world rankings. He has a big serve, powerful strokes from both sides and strong court coverage skills.

He looks like a veteran even though he’s a month away from his 18th birthday.

“I think I have the game to play well on every surface,” Auger-Aliassime said. “Hopefully by next year, I can play all four Slams in the same year.”

He joined elite company with his third career Challenger win. Novak Djokovic, Richard Gasquet and Juan Martin del Potro are the only other players who have won at least three titles on the circuit before turning 18.

Just Posted

Pro-pipeline protest convoy approaches Ottawa after rolling across country

OTTAWA — A convoy of angry Albertans and other westerners rolls into… Continue reading

Amazon aims to cut its carbon footprint

NEW YORK — Amazon, which ships millions of packages a year to… Continue reading

For sake of pupils’ pupils, China to ban homework on apps

BEIJING — An eastern Chinese province plans to ban teachers from assigning… Continue reading

Parole hearing for Calgary man who strangled wife, buried body in basement

BOWDEN, Alta. — A man who strangled his wife and concealed her… Continue reading

Red Deerians brave the chill to spend Family Day in the new Celebration Plaza

The 2019 Canada Winter Games hub attracted a lot of parents and kids

Historic win for Team Nunavut at Canada Winter Games

Four years in the making boiled down to a collection of firsts… Continue reading

Chanel: Iconic couturier Karl Lagerfeld dies in Paris

PARIS — Karl Lagerfeld, Chanel’s iconic couturier whose designs had an unprecedented… Continue reading

Canadian women beat US 2-0 to win inaugural Rivalry Series

DETROIT — The inaugural Rivalry Series was created to give Canada and… Continue reading

Don Cherry blasts Hurricanes as ‘jerks’; team responds with his words on T-shirt

TORONTO — Don Cherry’s latest rant about the Carolina Hurricanes and their… Continue reading

Country star Miranda Lambert reveals secret marriage

NASHVILLE — Country star Miranda Lambert celebrated Valentine’s Day weekend with the… Continue reading

‘Black Panther’ costume designer blazes trail to inspire

LOS ANGELES — Ruth E. Carter is a black woman blazing a… Continue reading

Chicago police: Jussie Smollett assault case has ‘shifted’

Chicago police said Saturday the investigation into the assault reported by Jussie… Continue reading

Still-active human rights case speaks to lasting homophobia in Canada: activists

ST. JOHN’S, N.L. — Just over 14 years ago, the government of… Continue reading

Alberta missionaries among the Canadians heading home from riot-stricken Haiti

MONTREAL — A Canadian couple who had to leave Haiti due to… Continue reading

Most Read