Canadas Flix Auger-Aliassime matches feats of tennis elite

Canada’s Félix Auger-Aliassime launched himself into illustrious company when he won the Open de Sopra Steria in Lyon, France on Sunday.At 16 years and 10 months, the Montrealer became the seventh-youngest player in history to win an ATP Challenger title, sandwiched between Rafael Nadal at No. 6 and Novak Djokovic at eighth.The star-studded company had the well-spoken teen feeling “quite proud” on Monday. But better yet, the momentous accomplishment shows he’s clearly on the proper path.“I really see it as motivation, and a sign that I’m doing the right things,” Auger-Aliassime said on a conference call. “And after all it’s just staying me, I want to be a unique player, I want to be as good as I can be, I want to be the best version of me, so that’s what it’s all about.“But obviously it’s really encouraging.”Article Continued BelowAuger-Aliassime defeated world No. 171 Mathias Bourge of France 6-4, 6-1 in the final to become the youngest Challenger winner in eight years, and send his world ranking skyrocketing up 105 places to No. 231. He’s the youngest player to crack the Top 250 since Juan Martin del Potro in 2005.“Every tournament I play, I always believe in my chances,” Auger-Aliassime said. “I didn’t feel like my level was far from these guys, and I think I proved it match after match. It was a tough start of the tournament, winning my first three matches in three sets, (but) what I think what I did great in this tournament I fought well mentally, I stayed positive on every moment of every match, and at the end of the week it paid off because I played my best tennis.”Last September, the hard-hitting and athletic Auger-Aliassime captured the U.S. Open boys title, dispatching Serbia’s Miomir Kecmanovic in a mere 57 minutes. That victory was a turning point as the six-foot-three player and his coach Guillaume Marx decided to step on the accelerator, making the move from boys to men, and committing to the ATP Challenger Tour.