PARIS | At the age of 10, Félix Auger-Aliassime went to a tournament abroad without his parents. And as far as she can remember, her mother never got a call from her son saying he was bored from home.
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“Never! Marie Auger laughs, she met The newspaper On Friday, at Roland-Garros, a few hours before this victory that would give his son his ticket for this morning’s match against the Spaniard Rafael Nadal.
However, the family is very close. But Felix is independent, his mother points out.
“He was always very proud to be independent. Even today, it is he who makes his decisions for his career. Of course, consult your agent, your coaches, your parents. But he is very wise in his choices. »
Félix Auger-Aliassime and his mother on the terrace of a Monte Carlo restaurant last February.
So much so that neither Marie nor her father, Sam Aliassime, have traveled much with their son. But this season is different. Mjo Auger, a college professor, decided to take a half-year sabbatical to accompany her older child on the circuit.
From Rotterdam in February, where Felix won his first ATP title, he has traveled the planet with him.
Marseille, Indian Wells, Miami, the European clay tour, and now Paris: it was everywhere, only coming back to Quebec for a few days in late March. This is how his son will continue at Wimbledon.
“It simply came to our notice then. This year I will be 50 years old, my son has been on the road since he was very young, he explains. There I thought it was the right time, while his career was going well. »
Marie Auger was also waiting for Felix to be ready. Because, remember, it’s independent. “For a few years he told us that he made him happy when we accompanied him to a tournament sometimes, but that he liked managing his things more with his coaches. »
And Felix was ready. His mother does not go with him to the competition field every day, but he does attend matches and some training sessions.
Are you nervous when your child is about to jump into the field? “No really, I’ve learned to control it,” he said. I tell myself that when he gets ready to play, the job is done by his coaches. »
“Sometimes I have palpitations, like at the end of the game. But it’s like he’s on a plane and he’s the pilot. »
Glamorous, but demanding
But the rest of the time, when she’s not in the stadium, what does Marie Auger do? She visits. Because his son has played in a few beautiful cities this year, even before he arrived in Paris. Rome, Barcelona … never get bored.
But she sees how demanding the life of a professional athlete is.
“We often associate it with the glamorous look, but glamor is demanding! she says. We are always between two suitcases and decisions are made quickly. He loses in one tournament, and the next day we go back to another tournament, depending on the flights. »
“Sometimes we have time to go home in the south of France to make a stop, but it’s often straight from one tournament to another. »
The presence of M.jo Auger brings some normalcy to this hectic life. Sometimes, in tournaments, the clan rents a house instead of staying in a hotel. This is not the case in Paris, but it will be at Wimbledon in a month’s time.
This allows Felix’s mother to cook meals and free the entire team from certain responsibilities.
“We have close ties with coaches, physiotherapists,” he said. No wonder we are all at the same table.
“I think Felix feels this cohesion and it’s a healthy environment for him,” adds M.jo Auger. It keeps him connected to his roots, but at the same time, he has every freedom to emancipate himself in his sport. »
Autographs and selfies
Marie Auger has been “sharing” her son with the whole planet for a long time. He was only 15 years old and already, his early performances made him talk internationally.
She sees it more and more. Regardless of the city, it is now difficult for the duo to go to a restaurant without the ninth in the world being challenged by autographs or selfies.
“As a parent, you’re never ready to have a child who has a public life,” he says. When I get to a city and see its image battered on buses, there’s something a little surreal about it!
“But for me, Felix is still Felix. When we’re home, I forget about all this. But I know he’s part of his career and he does this role very well. He never gets impatient and he’s always very generous with his time. ”
On the circuit, Félix Auger-Aliassime has a reputation for being a good guy. Courteous, fair play. Well done, in short.
Of course, this made her mother happy. Other players even talk about it when she enters the transport that takes her to the different stadiums.
“It makes me even happier when they tell me that Felix is a good person, that he is smart, because I, as a father, did not raise a tennis player. I accompanied a child to make him an adult who felt comfortable with his own skin.
“It has always been a family project, with his father, even though we are divorced. And I look at it, and it is true that it is so. But as a parent, you can’t take away all the credit for that. »
philosophy and economics
Very young, Felix and his sister Malika, two years older than him and also playing tennis, were surrounded by many adults. At Auger-Aliassime, during dinners with family or friends, there was no table for children.
“Our children have always interacted with many adults. And this developed the fact that Felix talks about all sorts of topics. Both philosophy and economics or the war in Ukraine. He is curious, he is interested in many things. »
So even though her son dropped out of high school after 5th grade, to focus on his career as a player, his mother notes that he is still interested in many topics. “That also helps make him an eloquent person,” he believes.
But economics, philosophy, international politics … your son is still seriously like that, Mr.jo Auger?
“Oh no! Felix loves humor. Still [vendredi] at lunch, he came across a French comic and he was teaching me that. I find it very refreshing to see it that way.
“In tournaments, we often listen to movies like Good cop, bad cop on the The boys. And he’s fucked! He’s a serious guy, but off the field he loves to laugh. He doesn’t have many opportunities to live his youth, but as soon as he has the opportunity, he takes advantage of it. »
DON’T HAVE ANYTHING ELSE DURING THE BLAÇA ROSES
Tennis was not originally Marie Auger’s project, but that of Felix’s father, Sam Aliassime, who also introduced his eldest son, Malika.
The mother of the ninth player in the world played a bit, of course, when she met Sam Aliassime. If he still sometimes exchanges balls with his daughter, who “agrees to play at his level,” he no longer does so with his son.
And so is the extended family. At one point, Auger-Aliassime struck a bit with his relatives during the corn roasts and other gatherings. Not anymore. “It’s her job, she doesn’t want to play with her mother or sister anymore,” says Marie Auger.
The latter is not called a “tennis fan.” “There are players I know and love,” he says. And sometimes I just stare at the other Canadians. »
BILINGUALISM DEVELOPED IN THE TOURNAMENT
Marie Auger is surprised to hear Felix speak in English. “I am fascinated by the fact that he speaks French and English. It all depends on him! she says.
Except a few times, on trips, when they had fun speaking English for an hour, the Auger-Aliassimes did not really practice the language of Shakespeare together.
“He learned a little English at school, but it is rare for a student to leave the school network completely bilingual. It was especially in the junior tournaments, with children from all over, that he started speaking English, ”explains his mother.
In addition, if you do not speak these languages fluently, Quebecers can also order from the restaurant in Spanish and Italian, underlines Ms.jo Auger.
THESE YOUNG PEOPLE COME TO RELEASE HIM FROM PRESSURE
A weight fell off Felix’s shoulders when he won his first ATP title in Rotterdam in February. “When he came to join us at the box office, there was a time when all the tension fell,” his mother said.
But L’Ancienne-Lorette’s pride does not end with the pressure. “We talked about it after its title,” says Marie Auger. It is difficult to manage the expectations of the media, of analysts. But there, after a victory, people are waiting for their second. They also wonder if he will win a Grand Slam. »
In this context, Félix’s mother is celebrating the rise of young people such as the Spanish Carlos Alcaraz, with whom the 21-year-old will be able to manage the expectations that weigh on the new generation.