Can Big Hitting Felix Auger-Aliassime Threaten at Wimbledon?

Felix Auger-Aliassime at the French Open

The end of last season at the indoor tournaments was extraordinary for Canadian #1 Felix Auger-Aliassime. He won three tournaments consecutively in Florence, Antwerp, and Basel, and then reached the semifinals of the Paris Masters, before eventually running out of steam at the ATP Finals. Expectations for 2023 were raised for a man who had gone from one win in ten ATP finals to three titles in the space of three weeks.

It would be an exaggeration to say things have gone completely wrong for Auger-Aliassime since transferring back to the outdoor conditions this year, but he hasn’t been at his absolute best. A fourth round appearance at the Australian Open, semifinal in Qatar, and quarterfinals in Indian Wells and Rotterdam represent his best results this season. More recently he only managed one win during the clay court season, and revealed after his first-round defeat at Roland Garros that he had been struggling with both sickness and a shoulder injury.

These health woes continued with Auger-Aliassime pulling out of Halle. The only grass practice the 11th seed at Wimbledon has gotten is at the Boodles exhibition event at Stoke Park, thus a lack of match practice could be an issue at Wimbledon.

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If Auger-Aliassime can find his touch, and instead comes back refreshed after a few weeks without any tournaments, he possesses a game that can inflict damage on grass. When firing, his first serve is one of the best in tennis. His groundstrokes are naturally hit very flat, most notably his forehand that is also one of the most devastating in tennis, and particularly suited to grass.

Auger-Aliassime’s return is more of a liability by comparison and can be exposed, and his slice and net game to add variety on grass can be improved upon. But Wimbledon should still suit his brand of tennis, as his quarterfinal appearance in 2021 demonstrated, where he lost out to finalist Matteo Berrettini.

Auger-Aliassime should back himself to reach at least the third round at SW19 this year. His first round opponent Filip Krajinovic only has one wimbledon win in five appearances, although he did reach a shock final at Queens last year. He would then face either Maximilian Marterer or Borna Gojo, neither player possessing significant grass court pedigree. Things may then get tougher. A third round meeting with the dangerous Alexander Bublik is then possible, while Andrey Rublev or Nick Kyrgios are possible opponents in the fourth round.

Recent injuries and form mean the Canadian has gone under the radar during the pre-wimbledon media coverage. But it is surely inevitable that a player of his class will rediscover his best form eventually. Could it happen on the lush grass courts of Wimbledon that suit much of Felix Auger-Aliassime’s game?

Main Photo Credit: Susan Mullane-USA TODAY Sports


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