Felix Auger-Aliassime is disappointed, but undeterred.
The Canadian star let slip a two-set lead — including a match point in the fourth set — against Daniil Medvedev in the quarter-finals of the Australian Open. But in the early hours of Thursday morning in Melbourne, the 21-year-old Felix showed maturity far beyond his years.
“I can go back and think I wish I made different choices, or I wish Daniil didn’t play as good in certain moments. But, yeah, it was a good effort,” Auger-Aliassime said. “At the end of the day, I can’t regret the effort that I put, and the chances I gave myself. I like to look at it in a positive way.
“Of course I would have loved to win. I love to win every time. It sucks to lose in the end, but that’s life. I just need to accept it.”
The loss will sting, as it is the second consecutive year Auger-Aliassime has lost from two sets up at the season’s first major. But there were plenty of positives to take from the performance. It was a top effort from the World No. 9 to put his second-seeded opponent on the brink of defeat.
“I always believed I could produce what I did tonight. I showed it, but definitely it’s the difference between knowing that you have this inside of you and actually showing up and doing it and being close [to] winning,” Auger-Aliassime said. “But of course it’s good, I mean, it’s good for myself. It’s a world of competition, so at the end of the day I think it’s a good message that I send to my fellow players, the people I’m competing with.
“I’m ready to test myself with the best, and I have proved it now time after time.”
What made the difference in the end? As Medvedev noted in his press conference, he faced match point, so even a missed first serve could have changed the outcome, and Felix could have been into his second consecutive major semi-final.
But Medvedev was cool under pressure throughout the final three sets. In the decider, the Russian saved all six break points he faced and converted his one opportunity.
“We both didn’t want to give up. It’s no surprise he’s where he is now. He fights, tries to find solutions. He plays well when he needs to. I think that’s the big difference, we saw the players playing good this week, they play well when it matters,” Auger-Aliassime said. “I think he was just a little bit more clutch than me. A little bit more solid at times. [That] comes with experience as well, I think.”
Auger-Aliassime added that he is keen to put himself in this position again with the belief that in the future he will be able to “cross the line”. But for now, the Canadian plans to reflect on his positive start to the season and use the momentum he has earned in the weeks and months ahead.
“I wish I could go back and change it, but I can’t. So I have accepted it already. It is what it is. I look at it in a very positive way. So far I played two tournaments this year. I showed some good level again today,” Auger-Aliassime. “It’s unfortunate I couldn’t win, but it was a good match. I showed good things. I’m going to leave Australia with my head held high, and I’m going to go into the rest of the season knowing that I can play well, I can play well against the best players in the world.”