Interview with the father of Félix Auger-Aliassime | “It’s about education”


Sam Aliassime gave birth to one of the best players of his generation and possibly Canadian history. His mission, however, is far from over.

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Nicola Riccardo

Nicola Riccardo
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Félix Auger-Aliassime’s father had only one son. On the other hand, a few years ago, he took under his wing a young player whom he now regards as his other son, in a sense. This guy just won his first professional title.

Gabriel Diallo became the first Quebecer to win the National Bank Championships, a Challenger tournament played in Granby. Players like Vasek Pospisil and Frances Tiafoe have already won this tournament.

The Montrealer has just turned 20 and is already turning heads. People notice him not only because he is 6’7 “tall, but mostly because of his infectious energy and the fun he has on the pitch.

If Diallo knows such a rise, it is largely thanks to the support of Sam Aliassime. The latter noticed it in a tournament, when he was 9 or 10 years old. At the age of 14, Aliassime became interested in him because the provincial and national federations had given up on him a bit, for lack of results. He then took him with him to the school he runs in Quebec, the Académie Aliassime, to train him.


Montrealer Gabriel Diallo won the National Bank Championships in Granby last Sunday.

Aliassime even opened the doors of his home to the young Diallo, who lived with his coach for three years. According to him and the Diallo family, it was the best way to be successful.

“It’s about education. You have to be patient, do things right, and don’t skip steps, ”said Aliassime, who lives in New York to see her son compete at the United States Open.

Diallo is currently 335 years oldAnd around the world and plays in the NCAA at the University of Kentucky. This represents the normal course of a developing athlete. Although Diallo is inspired by the success of Félix Auger-Aliassime, the latter’s father must make him understand that it is essential to follow his own path.

“We need to understand the reality of each person. There are exceptions. I think that in life you have to go forward consistently, but you still need to have a minimum of talent and desire to succeed. ”

Two things that Diallo is gifted with. Sam Aliassime believes that his foal has the same qualities as his son and that it is with these that he can hope to make his place on the ATP circuit. “He is very calm. He has a head on his shoulders. And he has a great following. ”

A father’s pride

If Gabriel Diallo has had a dream week in Eastern Townships, Félix Auger-Aliassime, south of the border, will be looking to get his hands on a first title in a major tournament.

Last year in New York he reached the semifinal. With a title in his pocket, he entered Flushing Meadows as the eighth player in the world rankings, a career record.

His son shines and it is the fact that he has remained himself that makes him most proud. Fame and victories have not changed him, and Sam Aliassime is happy to see that his offspring have managed to remain humble. “Felix is ​​the same boy as him when he was 14. Every year I see him maintaining these values ​​and it warms my heart, ”said the father.


Sam Aliassime with his son Felix

Aliassime made Félix understand something that today he transmits to all his players. “At 35-40 the players end their careers. There will still be about fifty years of life left. You must be a good human being. If everything is based on your success and achievements, you are useless. ”

I prefer to be surrounded by good people than by good athletes.

Sam Aliassi

Aliassime places much more emphasis on human qualities than athletic qualities when training youngsters. “You can’t be a great tennis player if you’re not very good in everyday life. Not to mention perfection, he thinks it is necessary to apply himself in all areas of life, whether it is making the bed, fixing his things or helping his parents.

Fiston immediately understood the message and that is why he is a model of generosity and benevolence. “He shares a lot, helps the young people of the Academy and is also ready to lend me his home in France for our young people who play tournaments in Europe,” said Aliassime.

A duty of transmission

Sam Aliassime didn’t become the owner of his tennis school in 2018 to have fun. It was rather to properly supervise young players who dream big.

When it comes to the structures of the Academy, there are signs on which are inscribed values ​​that young people must categorically respect if they want to make their place: respect, combativeness and pleasure. The Academy is based on these three words and it is by explaining their importance that Sam Aliassime has become one of Canada’s foremost coaches.

“It starts with respect. Appreciate the time we dedicate, appreciate the coaches, respect what we receive. Commitment, because I think you shouldn’t do things by halves. When you start something, you have to do it very well. If we decide to become a pastry chef, we will become a very good pastry chef. At the Academy, our values ​​are based on this. “

It is through education that we build good players.

Sam Aliassi

Without forgetting the pleasure, which above all must dominate. “The path is long, life is beautiful, you have to have fun. Pleasure fuels the passion in this project. ”

Also, when Aliassime talks about his son’s career or Gabriel Diallo’s, he never uses the word “career”. He uses the word “project”. Rather than training young people in a profession that could bring them fame and fortune, Sam Aliassime prefers to train humans. A project that involves much more than achievements and trophies.


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