Legend Ashe the benchmark for teenager Auger-Aliassime

Felix Auger-Aliassime (AP)
Felix Auger-Aliassime (AP)

London - Canadian teenager Felix Auger-Aliassime has been compared to Arthur Ashe, the only black man to win three Grand Slam titles, and he said on Wednesday he would love to emulate the American legend.

The 18-year-old, the youngest player in the men's singles, said Ashe, who won Wimbledon in 1975 to add to his US Open (1968) and Australian Open (1970), was to be admired not only for what he achieved on court but also off it.

Ashe died of pneumonia-related AIDS in 1993.

Auger-Aliassime edged a step closer to striking off one of Ashe's Grand Slam wins by beating Frenchman Corentin Moutet 6-3, 4-6, 6-4, 6-2 to reach the last 32 at Wimbledon.

"The comparison, yeah, it goes back far," said Auger-Aliassime.

"Obviously, he's a big model for me but also many players.

"But he was just a great human and he kind of changed things in a sport and in his life, and he changed a lot of people's lives.

"So I think that's what I take from him. And if I could do that one day in my way, that would be great, yeah.

"Hopefully I can have a similar career."

Auger-Aliassime, who first picked up a racquet aged four and was coached by his Togolese father Sam till he was 12, said he had felt nervous prior to his match with Moutet due to him being the favourite.

However, he added he is well acquainted with such feelings as he was sent away on his own to compete aged 10.

Indeed this was a strategy of his father who explained it was common practice in Africa to give children autonomy so they could learn to look after themselves.

"I can recall being 10 years old and playing the first time away from home and being very nervous, you know," said Aliassime-Auger.

"I think since I'm very young, you kind of learn how to deal with this pressure, with the stress."

Very composed for his age, Auger-Aliassime said he understood when others of the 'NextGen' group such as Stefanos Tsitsipas and Alexander Zverev - who both went out in the first round - talk of the pressure of being regarded as the future Grand Slam winners.

However, he refuted the suggestion that he was one of those to "carry the sport" forward".

"Carry the sport is a bit much," he said.

"Obviously, yeah, there's a bit of a pressure.

"I could sense for Stefanos and Zverev, it's difficult because they have done already great things.

"They're so young. But at the same time, this is extreme amount of pressure on them to play well in the slams.

"But I think, you know, it just comes when it has to come and everyone has his own timing for that."

Auger-Aliassime, whose father is one of 13 children and became interested in tennis as they had a tennis court at their home in Togo, is aware that should he get past Ugo Humbert he will probably face defending champion Novak Djokovic.

"I know if I win I could play Novak," he said.

"But then there is a match to play. So I think once the match gets going, you're already in enough trouble on the court, you don't really think of what could happen."

Wimbledon results on Wednesday (x denotes seeding):


Second round

Novak Djokovic (SRB x1) bt Denis Kudla (USA) 6-3, 6-2, 6-2

Hubert Hurkacz (POL) bt Leonardo Mayer (ARG) 6-7 (4/7), 6-1, 7-6 (9/7), 6-3

Félix Auger-Aliassime (CAN x19) bt Corentin Moutet (FRA) 6-3, 4-6, 6-4, 6-2

Ugo Humbert (FRA) bt Marcel Granollers (ESP) 6-4, 7-6 (7/3), 7-5

Daniil Medvedev (RUS x11) bt Alexei Popyrin (AUS) 6-7 (6/8), 6-1, 6-4, 6-4

David Goffin (BEL x21) bt Jeremy Chardy (FRA) 6-2, 6-4, 6-3

Fernando Verdasco (ESP) bt Kyle Edmund (GBR x30) 4-6, 4-6, 7-6 (7/3), 6-3, 6-4

Thomas Fabbiano (ITA) bt Ivo Karlovic (CRO) 6-3, 6-7 (6/8), 6-3, 6-7 (4/7), 6-4

Kevin Anderson (RSA x4) bt Janko Tipsarevic (SRB) 6-4, 6-7 (5/7), 6-1, 6-4

Guido Pella (ARG x26) bt Andreas Seppi (ITA) 6-4, 4-6, 4-6, 7-5, 6-1

Reilly Opelka (USA) bt Stan Wawrinka (SUI x22) 7-5, 3-6, 4-6, 6-4, 8-6

Milos Raonic (CAN x15) bt Robin Haase (NED) 7-6 (7/1), 7-5, 7-6 (7/4)

Karen Khachanov (RUS x10) bt Feliciano Lopez (ESP) 4-6, 6-4, 7-5, 6-4

Roberto Bautista Agut (ESP x23) bt Steve Darcis (BEL) 6-3, 6-2, 4-2 - retired

Benoit Paire (FRA x28) bt Miomir Kecmanovic (SRB) 7-6 (7/5), 6-4 - retired

Jirí Vesely (CZE) bt Pablo Cuevas (URU) 4-6, 7-6 (7/5), 6-4, 6-4


Second round

Elina Svitolina (UKR x8) bt Margarita Gasparyan (RUS) 5-7, 6-5 - retired

Maria Sakkari (GRE x31) bt Marie Bouzkova (CZE) 6-4, 6-1

Petra Martic (CRO x24) bt Anastasia Potapova (RUS) 3-6, 6-3, 6-4

Danielle Collins (USA) bt Anastasija Sevastova (LAT x12) 4-6, 6-4, 6-3

Karolina Muchova (CZE) bt Madison Brengle (USA) 6-3, 6-4

Anett Kontaveit (EST x20) bt Heather Watson (GBR) 7-5, 6-1

Hsieh Su-Wei (TPE x28) bt Kirsten Flipkens (BEL) 7-6 (7/3), 6-3

Karolina Pliskova (CZE x3) bt Monica Puig (PUR) 6-0, 6-4

Simona Halep (ROU x7) bt Mihaela Buzarnescu (ROU) 6-3, 4-6, 6-2

Victoria Azarenka (BLR) bt Ajla Tomljanovic (AUS) 6-2, 6-0

Polona Hercog (SLO) bt Madison Keys (USA x17) 6-2, 6-4

Coco Gauff (USA) bt Magdaléna Rybáriková (SVK) 6-3, 6-3

Caroline Wozniacki (DEN x14) bt Veronika Kudermetova (RUS) 7-6 (7/5), 6-3

Zhang Shuai (CHN) bt Yanina Wickmayer (BEL) 6-3, 6-2

Dayana Yastremska (UKR) bt Sofia Kenin (USA x27) 7-5, 4-6, 6-3

Viktorija Golubic (SUI) bt Yulia Putintseva (KAZ) 6-4, 7-6 (7/3)

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