Rafael Nadal French Open 2022

Felix Auger-Aliassime on Rafael Nadal: ‘It will be a monumental effort for him to win’

World number nine Felix Auger-Aliassime has openly discussed his last 16 tie against Rafael Nadal, as he warned that the path to glory for the Spanish veteran will only become increasingly harder following their five-set thriller. 

The 13-time Roland Garros champion was taken to a fifth set on clay for just the third time in his career by the young Canadian at the Paris Slam as he triumphed 3-6, 6-3, 6-2, 3-6, 6-3.

Despite the loss, for Auger-Aliassime, the tournament was a sign of an improved past 12 months.

The 21-year-old has now advanced to at least the fourth round at four consecutive majors. Before this streak, he had not made it that far at two straight Grand Slams.

The victory for Nadal means that a highly-anticipated 59th career showdown between Nadal and world number one Novak Djokovic is set to take place in the quarter-finals after the Serb downed Diego Schwartzman earlier in the day on Sunday.

Reflecting on the match and Nadal’s chances of beating Djokovic in the next round, the Canadian told reporters that “it will be monumental effort” for Nadal to complete the feat especially so soon after their four hour and 21 minute encounter.

“I wish Rafa the very best, I admire him greatly in everything that he’s done,” Auger-Aliassime said of Nadal. “He’s somebody who I really like, and so I wish him the very best for the next match.

“But then I think that he also knows that it’s going to be difficult. We played for a long time today and it’s still the quarter-finals and afterwards there’s still two more matches to win to win the tournament. Rafa is coming here to win the tournament.

“So as I said, I really wish him the very best, but it will be a monumental effort for him, I think, to win. But as he and Novak have always done, they will give it their all right through to the end and it will be a great battle.”

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