Auger-Aliassime 'hopes' tennis season can restart

Paris (AFP) –


Canadian Felix Auger-Aliassime said on Thursday that he hopes the tennis season can restart this year despite the coronavirus pandemic, but admitted that it is "hard" to have an opinion on what will happen next.

The ATP and WTA tours are suspended until at least July 13, while Wimbledon was cancelled this year for the first time since World War II.

"It's hard to say (if the season will be scrapped)," Auger-Aliassime, who at 19 is the youngest player in the world's top 20, said in a video call.

"We hear rumours and assumptions every day, but they are just rumours and assumptions. Obviously I hope we can play.

"But it's hard for anyone right now, whatever their position or status, to have a clear and concrete opinion on the future of the season."

Auger-Aliassime has been spending the lockdown with his family in Montreal, but hopes to be able to travel to Monaco next month to resume training.

The teenager had enjoyed a strong start to the season, reaching two ATP finals, although he lost both to take his career record in championship matches to five defeats from five.

"There is a lot of uncertainty, questions," he added. "I try to make do with what we know -- for the moment, there won't be a tournament before mid-July."

"I don't have a motivation problem, I know where I want to go, what I want to work on. I really have no doubts. The difficulty is the total uncertainty around the competition."

Debate has raged in recent weeks over whether top players should give financial help during the COVID-19 shutdown to those lower ranked.

Novak Djokovic said he was working with Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal to organise aid for players struggling to make ends meet, but world number three Dominic Thiem said he did not "really see why I should give such players money".

Auger-Aliassime insists that there are youngsters on the second and third-tier tours worthy of receiving aid.

"It's a very good idea. I have counterparts my age who are starting out on the circuit, who work hard, and it's difficult for them.

"I would be really interested in participating."