TOKYO, July 18 (Reuters) – It will be a dream come true for Felix Auger-Aliassime as he marches with his Canadian teammates at the opening ceremony of the Olympics on Friday, but the 20-year-old says he won’t be heading to Tokyo to enjoy alone. to enjoy the moment.
There will be no lack of confidence for Auger-Aliassime, who turns 21 on the day the Tokyo Olympics close next month, when he makes his debut after his recent quarter-finals at Wimbledon – his best result at a Grand Slam.
His first memory of the Olympics was of the Beijing Games in 2008 when, as an eight-year-old, he saw Canadian athletes marching in the opening ceremony.
“I was stunned by them and remember dreaming of a day walking where they walk,” Auger-Aliassime told the 2021 summer edition of ITFWorld magazine. “Just to see myself in their shoes now and think there’s a kid at home watching and maybe thinking the same as me is amazing.
“Honestly, I’m so excited. The Olympics were always a dream of mine growing up and my first memory was seeing how big it was. It goes way beyond your own sport or yourself. I love the Olympics and it will become a dream come true.
“To be 20 years old and be able to say that I’m going to be an Olympian is something very special.”
Auger-Aliassime will lead Canada’s charge at Ariake Tennis Park after his compatriot Denis Shapovalov withdrew amid the pandemic.
Former US Open champion Bianca Andreescu also joined the men’s world No. 10 Shapovalov, who withdrew due to similar concerns.
Daniel Nestor and Sebastien Lareau won Canada’s only tennis medal on the quadrennial showpiece when they triumphed in the Sydney men’s doubles in 2000.
Auger-Aliassime hoped he could fill that list.
“I’m not going there just to enjoy the moment,” said the world’s number 15. “Now it’s all about building up and becoming an Olympian, but once it gets closer to the start it will be more about competing and winning.
“That’s why I go there. I go there to try to compete and win, not just to be a kid enjoying the moment.”
Reporting by Sudipto Ganguly; edit by Sam Holmes
Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.
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