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Felix Auger-Aliassime is one of the most exciting prospects on the ATP Tour. There is no denying that, especially after his 2022 Australian Open performance. However, despite his obvious talent, there has been a bit of a monkey on his back. And I’m sure he has felt the weight of this burden over the last 12 months. For those who don’t know – Auger-Aliassime was the highest-ranked player not to have won a title until last week.
For a top 10 player, this is obviously not ideal. But thankfully, Auger-Aliassime has removed that monkey from his back by winning the ATP 500 event in Rotterdam. He managed to dispatch some huge names en-route to the title too. Such names include Murray, Rublev, and Tsitsipas in the final. So firstly, I’d like to say a huge congratulations to Felix!
And secondly, I’d like to take a quick look at how he has been able to secure his maiden title below.
Rotterdam Success for Felix – How He Achieved This Feat
I’ve been following the development of Auger-Aliassime for quite some time now. I first watched him play a few years back, and I remember thinking – this guy will be special. However, it’s fair to say that he hasn’t quite torn the tour apart as much as I had anticipated. Despite having such a huge forehand and a great serve, he has struggled to get over the line in major tournaments.
Looking at this 2021 season, he made the 4th round of the Australian Open. He then progressed to make the quarter-finals at Wimbledon. And finally, he made the semi-finals of the US Open. As you can see, things were getting steadily better. But at the 2022 Australian Open, he had match points against Medvedev in the quarter-finals before ultimately losing. This was obviously quite a setback, yet I witnessed some obvious changes to his game for Rotterdam.
Better shot selection
In previous years, I have felt that Felix has been a little too aggressive on the court. Sure, he has a big game, and this is a major strength. But at Rotterdam, he seemed to be more measured in his game, choosing the right time to go for the big shots. This was very obvious when he took down Tsitsipas in the final.
More returns in court
Although Felix has a fantastic serve, he has previously struggled when it comes to breaking the opponents’ serve. However, I watched many of his matches at Rotterdam and his return play was much improved. He went for a more neutral ball when facing first serves, and he didn’t try to go too big on the second serves either.
It comes with the territory that attacking players tend to get a little excited. With Auger-Aliassime, he has had a hard time with unforced errors on the finishing ball in the past. But at Rotterdam, I must say, he seemed calm, selective with when to strike big, and he seemed comfortable when taking the lead in the final.