Felix Auger-Aliassime's debut in the 2022 ATP Finals did not go as planned as Norwegian Casper Ruud defeated the Canadian in a green group clash, 7-6(7-4), 6-4. With the win, World No. 4 Ruud took the lead in Turin's Green Group ahead of Rafael Nadal's match against American Taylor Fritz on Sunday.
Auger-Aliassime, who won three titles in the span of three weeks before his 16-match winning streak was finally snapped in the semifinals of the Paris Masters, was one of the late qualifiers for the ATP Finals. However, the Canadian is still in the competition and will play Rafael Nadal and Taylor Fritz later this week thanks to the round-robin format.
Felix Auger-Aliassime was questioned in his post-match press conference about how he would handle the pressure of beating Rafael Nadal or Taylor Fritz to advance to the semifinals. The Canadian retorted that although a victory would have been preferable to begin with, he was ready to take on this "challenge."
"My back is against the wall, for sure. It would have been better to start off with a win here. For Casper, I'm sure it's a big weight off his shoulder. For me, I need to bounce back and play better, play a little bit better. I'm not far from playing well, but there's a few things I can do better," Felix Auger-Aliassime said.
"I will try to use the day tomorrow to do that, to work on a few things, then see how it goes the next day. We'll see who I play. They're playing tonight. I guess I play the loser of this match. But, yeah, I'm ready for it. At the end of the day, yeah, wasn't my way, but I'm ready for the challenge, for sure," the Canadian added.
When questioned about what went wrong in his match against Ruud, the 22-year-old claimed that his return game fell short, which was a key factor in his defeat.
"I felt like I could have returned much better and give myself chances because I won a few points on my return, and that's not enough against a player like Casper. I think that was the main thing," the Canadian acknowledged.
"I've been dealing with a normal, little virus in the last few days, but nothing that bad" - Felix Auger-Aliassime
In response to certain rumors that he wasn't feeling well in Paris, Felix Auger-Aliassime noted that while he had been struggling with a normal virus infection over the past few days, it was nothing serious and had no impact on his match against Ruud.
"It was tough in Paris. In the fall you get sometimes a cold. But nothing bad, you know? I had a few days to recover since then. It's nothing that affected me today. Yeah, I've been dealing with a normal, little virus in the last few days, but nothing that bad. Yeah, like I said, nothing that affected today," Auger-Aliassime said.