WIMBLEDON – Canadian teenager Félix Auger-Aliassime made a big splash this spring when he became among the youngest players ever to win an ATP Tour Challenger.
Since then, there hasn’t been much good news.
The 16-year-old played another Challenger in France the following week. He reache the second round before losing a tight three-setter to established pro Damir Dzumhur.
Then, it was announced that he would have to skip three big Challenger events in his home country. The reason was a left wrist injury.
Auger-Aliassime is right-handed, but the two-handed backhand has created quite a few off-hand wrist injuries in recent years. The most notable victim has been Juan Martin del Potro.
So these days, wrist injuries immediately set off alarm bells. If not an epidemic, it is definitely a trend.
Friday, Tennis Canada announced that Auger-Aliassime, who already had been given a wild card into the main draw of the Masters 1000 Rogers Cup in Montreal, is also going to miss that tournament.
“I am obviously disappointed because I was looking forward to playing my first Rogers Cup main draw match in front of the Montreal crowd, but my priority is to heal this injury 100 per cent before returning to competition to avoid it becoming a problem long term,” was the quote attributed to Auger-Aliassime in the Tennis Canada press release. “For now, I am hoping to return for the qualifying at the U.S. Open.”
North American summer basically a bust
Auger-Aliassime already was scheduled to play his first-round match in Montreal, where he lives, on Aug. 8. That happens to be his 17th birthday. (It also, as it happens, will be Roger Federer’s 36th birthday).
His ATP Tour ranking currently stands at No. 231. Playing all these hard-court events, on home soil, would have been a great opportunity to bump that up.
That ranking may not get him into the US Open qualifying on his own merit. But as the reigning junior boys’ champion, there’s little doubt they would give him a wild card.
But will be he fit to play? That’s the big question. And the big concern.