THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. That’s a pretty good record you’ve got against him now. What is it about his game that you find fits well with yours?
FELIX AUGER-ALIASSIME: Not quite sure. I think, you know, I thought I was able to be pretty aggressive, like all the other matches we played in juniors. That’s my style of play. For some reason it fits well with his. I just feel like he doesn’t have a lot of openings maybe when I play him. I guess that’s maybe what he feels, as well.
Again, I didn’t know what to expect today because he’s a completely different player. Again, I believe in myself. I thought I had my chances. But again, I served really well today, so that was obviously a big key.
Q. As you said, you’re serving pretty good today. Around the end of the match, you made three double faults in a row. Is that because of nerves? What is the reason?
FELIX AUGER-ALIASSIME: Yeah, I don’t know. The first one was, Okay. Like, I was, like, Okay, just one double fault, long.
And then, yeah, for some reason, yeah, I was maybe a bit tense by the end of the match, but, yeah, it’s the kind of stuff that happens. Obviously it wasn’t great, but I had to put that aside and try to refocus.
I was happy I was able to win that game because it was really important, and I felt like I was playing well. I just had those three double faults that, yeah, that maybe gave him break points, and it wasn’t ideal, for sure.
Q. Can you talk a little bit about your decision to spend the last month on the clay, what that says about your future on that surface? Also, did it help you a little bit playing here because you spent time on the clay, and some say it’s slightly similar.
FELIX AUGER-ALIASSIME: Yeah, I mean, any surface, clay, hard, I mean, I think I’m proving today that I can play on any surface. For me, it’s not about — yeah, I’m comfortable on both surfaces.
We decided that this year maybe there would be good opportunities for me to play on clay in these tournaments, maybe have stronger players in Europe at that time. Yeah, I think it happened that I played well there. I could have played well on hard, as well. It was just, yeah, scheduling decisions.
But on the future, I feel like I’m going to be a player that can win on any surface.
Q. My question actually goes off of that in the sense of last year I think you spent April to July only on clay in the sense of going to Europe, spending all that time…
FELIX AUGER-ALIASSIME: I feel like you guys have something against clay. I don’t know. (Smiling.) Every time…
Q. No, I mean it in a positive way.
FELIX AUGER-ALIASSIME: Okay.
Q. How much do you feel like that helped you develop as a player? And I think maybe you were over in Europe and you’re a teenager, and do you feel like you grew up in those few months?
FELIX AUGER-ALIASSIME: No, you’re right. I think it’s good to see it that way. I think it’s not about, you know, being a clay specialist or anything. It’s just a surface that was always good for me as a young guy to develop mentally, physically. I made a lot of traveling sacrifices to go away and play these tournaments, and I think it built me really a strong character. I think I can use that any week and any day.
Yeah, these decisions to play last year, skip the grass, I think I just felt like I needed some more matches, some more wins, more tennis inside of me, and I think it was the right decision.
Q. Stefanos said he thinks you play with some kind of weird tempo. It’s hard to deal with. Is that a tactic or just the way you play?
FELIX AUGER-ALIASSIME: Yeah, I don’t know. Maybe he felt that. I don’t know what he means by “weird.” That’s not really clear. I mean, I’m not the type of player — I mean, yeah, I try to impose myself, you know, not give him too much time, but I wouldn’t say that I played at a weird tempo or, you know, you see some players, you know, really mixing up the speeds or anything. I don’t think that was the case.
Q. Obviously you’re still a young player, a young man, but what are your dreams? What are your aspirations? What do you want to do in the sport?
FELIX AUGER-ALIASSIME: I want to win as much as I can. I want to go as far as I can as a player. You know, I don’t know what my limits will be, but, you know, I try to work hard every day to go as far as I can. I want to probably feel all the emotions that I can feel, you know, on these courts, win as many trophies as I can.
Yeah, there is no really limits for me.
Q. Your strongest part of being a player, what is your greatest strength?
FELIX AUGER-ALIASSIME: I’m pretty instinctive. Instinct? I always have a big belief in myself. I go for my shots. I’m aggressive. And if I can keep on doing that and be even more solid and being more consistent, I think it will bring me to high levels.
Q. Following on from the surface talk, are you going to play grass this year?
FELIX AUGER-ALIASSIME: Yeah, I will be playing grass this year.
Q. How much have you played on grass?
FELIX AUGER-ALIASSIME: Only juniors.
Q. What do you think? Do you like it?
FELIX AUGER-ALIASSIME: Yeah, I like it. It was nice. You know, I lost in quarterfinals at Wimbledon juniors against De Minaur.
Yeah, I feel like it’s a nice surface. Obviously I’m still 18, so it’s not like I have a lot of experience on it, but I’m definitely looking forward to playing on it this year.
Q. You were scheduled on center court for both your matches, which is one of the biggest tournaments in the world. Is it a surprise to you or it’s just normal now?
FELIX AUGER-ALIASSIME: I was surprised the first day. Even against Stefanos I thought — the two times I thought maybe Stadium 2 or — but again, today playing a top 10, I didn’t expect it, but at the same time I can understand that maybe they wanted this match on Stadium 1, but that’s not really a matter to me. You know, any court, I’m happy to play on.
Q. Stefanos seemed to back up considerably today both on receiving the serve and actually in the rallies. You seemed to have that plus-one angled shot off the court. I don’t know how many winners you hit. 10? 12? Did you sense early on, He’s back, I can take advantage of this?
FELIX AUGER-ALIASSIME: Yeah, I sensed that. I watched a lot of his matches lately, and I felt like today was a big difference. I was able to have him on his back foot. For some reason, I felt he started giving himself a lot of space on the return, and then come in on maybe — end of the first, second set, he tried to get himself closer.
Yeah, I felt like he tried to put more pressure. But at the end of a lot of rallies, I was able to have him on his back foot and create some angles, so that was obviously a big key today. I was surprised to see him a lot of times giving himself a lot of space, yeah.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports
Rev #1 by #366 at 2019-03-09 22:13:00 GMT