Canadian Felix Auger-Aliassime joined former World No. 1s Boris Becker and Mats Wilander on Eurosport this week, explaining the dilemma the #NextGenATP players faced before the COVID-19 pandemic forced the suspension of play.
“Obviously people need to see new faces win big tournaments. I’m a part of that, and there are players a bit older than me that are also getting much closer with [Daniil] Medvedev, [Stefanos] Tsitsipas, [Alexander] Zverev and Dominic [Thiem],” Auger-Aliassime said. “For sure, we have to push. But I think the tough part is the level that these top three guys still play [at], and I think with the commitment and the knowledge on the high level, now they’re pushing limits in terms of how long they can sustain that level.
“I think they’re always pushing barriers in terms of playing well at their older age.”
Auger-Aliassime was referring to the success of the ‘Big Three’ — Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal — who have combined to win the past 13 major trophies. The youngest member of the elite trio is Djokovic, who turns 33 on 22 May.
The 19-year-old Auger-Aliassime also pointed to former World No. 3 Stan Wawrinka winning his first Grand Slam title at 28 to show that players have enjoyed success at a relatively older age recently.
“We need young people,” Wilander told Auger-Aliassime. “We need people like you guys to start winning these Grand Slam tournaments.”
Felix Auger-Aliassime: ‘We Have To Face It All Together’
Becker and Wilander are two of the legends of the sport. Although Auger-Aliassime is a teenager, he spoke about how much he appreciates the history of the sport.
“I like the history of tennis. I like the way it’s played. Obviously I feel the need to bring interesting things [to the court], but I’m not quite sure of the way, because I like the duel… I like the tension of the two players competing,” Auger-Aliassime said. “You have to respect the history of the sport and the duel and the fight like two gladiators going on court. I think that’s essentially the essence of tennis, so for my part I am a big fan of that.”