Felix Auger-Aliassime is one of the rising stars of the men’s game on the ATP Tour and could be ready for a breakout opportunity in 2022 to follow in the footsteps of Daniil Medvedev. The Canadian improved steadily over the course of the 2021 campaign and surpassed his career-best in back-to-back Grand Slams. The 21-year-old reached the quarter-finals of Wimbledon before going one better at the US Open to qualify for the last four before being beaten by the eventual winner Medvedev.
Auger-Aliassime has proven that he can contend for major titles and has a price of 34.00 in the tennis betting odds to win the Australian Open. It would take a special effort from the Canadian considering Novak Djokovic’s dominance of the event, while Medvedev, Alexander Zverev and Stefanos Tsitsipas are also strong contenders. The Canadian does have all the elements of a champion and it seems when, not if, that he makes a breakthrough at a Grand Slam.
Auger-Aliassime has had one issue on the ATP Tour to date. He has put himself in position in eight finals to get off the mark and secure his maiden victory. However, on all eight occasions, the Canadian has been beaten. He has faced quality opponents in those matches, suffering straight-sets defeats in each contest, the most recent of which came against Marin Cilic at the Stuttgart Open. It is a testament to the quality of Auger-Aliassime that he has reached so many finals at this early stage in his career, but also an indictment of the fact that he needs to cultivate a cutting edge to turn those finals into victories.
Winning on the ATP Tour is no guarantee of success, and it took Medvedev a long time to make his breakthrough on the major stage. It was evident that the Russian had great potential from an early age, but the presence of Djokovic and Rafael Nadal halted his progress. Medvedev maintained his intensity despite the setbacks and eventually was able to wear down Djokovic to win the US Open. It was a lesson not only to Auger-Aliassime about persistence but also to other rising players on the tour such as Zverev and Tsitsipas, who are yet to win their first Grand Slams.
The example of Emma Raducanu in the women’s game is another prime example of a clinical edge. The Brit had no experience on the WTA Tour before Wimbledon and the US Open. Raducanu used her disappointment at Wimbledon to great effect at Flushing Meadows to storm her way to the crown. There was no player of the calibre of Djokovic standing in her way given that many of the major hitters had been eliminated by her opponent Leylah Fernandez. However, the Brit was able to seize her opportunity and etch her place in history.
The chance may come sooner than Auger-Aliassime may believe given the steps that he took in 2021. In the previous year he did reach the fourth round of the US Open, but few would have believed that he would be one match away from the final in 2021. The Canadian has all the tools at his disposal, albeit they will need refining to match the best in the game on a regular basis. However, the most important attribute of all is a killer instinct. All the great champions have that in abundance. Auger-Aliassime needs to cultivate that skill before he can claim his first major.