Can Felix Auger-Aliassime upstage the Big Three at Wimbledon?

Felix Auger-Aliassime celebrates winning a match at Queen's
Could Felix Auger-Aliassime go all the way at Wimbledon? (Picture: Getty Images)

Its been 17 years since a player outside the Big Four won Wimbledon and most expect that drought to continue.

While two-time champion Andy Murray wont be in the singles draw, Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal are viewed as the men to beat.

I think the winner will come from those three, Murray said ahead of Queens. I guess its possible that some of the guys with huge serves could potentially go on a run and there will maybe be some upsets early on.

If those guys are fit and healthy and get through the first few rounds, I would expect one of them to come through.

No active player under the age of 30 has won a Grand Slam title, while two-time French Open runner-up Dominic Thiem is the only player under the age of 28 to have competed in a major final.



And yet, there is an exciting generation of talent emerging.

Novak Djokovic holding his Wimbledon title
Djokovic is the defending Wimbledon champion (Picture: AFP/Getty Images)

Stefanos Tsitsipas and Alexander Zverev have long been viewed as the leaders of this generation, but Felix Auger-Aliassime – one of two Canadian youths inside the ATP top-20 – is the man making all the noise on grass.

Involved in the grass-court season for the first time, the 18-year-old seems well suited to the surface and reached the final in Stuttgart – his third tour-level final of the season – before narrowly losing to eventual champion Feliciano Lopez in the semi-finals at Queens.

Remarkably, he will enter the All England Club as the 19th seed despite having never completed a Grand Slam match.

His only previous appearance in the main draw of a Slam ended in retirement as a heart issue forced him to tearfully withdraw against good friend and compatriot Denis Shapovalov. He failed to qualify for the subsequent Australian Open, while he was forced to pull out of this years French Open.

But his impressive displays on the grass, especially at Queens where he defeated Grigor Dimitrov, Nick Kyrgios and Tsitsipas in the space of two days have suggested he could do some serious damage on his Wimbledon debut.

Nick Kyrgios hits a backhand on the grass
Nick Kyrgios was beaten by Auger-Aliassime at Wimbledon (Picture: TPN/Getty Images)

It is perhaps far-fetched to see him go all the way at the All England Club but Simon, the beaten Queens finalist, suggested the 18-year-olds lack of baggage when it comes to facing Federer, Djokovic and Nadal could prove to be a major advantage.



Obviously hes a great player, Simon, who was beaten by Auger-Aliassime in Stuttgart, said: Hes gonna achieve a lot I think in his career. Hes a really, really nice guy also.

I think he has an advantage because already hes better than the other one being younger. So when you are young, being like two years younger is a big difference. After that, you dont pay attention anymore.

If Novak is one year or two years younger than Rafa, its not really important right now. But being able to perform this tennis and beat already top guys and playing so many finals already, even if you didnt win yet a tournament, being consistent week after week, since he broke through thats good.

Tsitsipas is amazing, also beating the top three guys. Not many of the young players were able to do that. Its going to be interesting.

Wimbledon winners since 2003

2003: Federer d. Philippoussis
2004: Federer d. Roddick
2005: Federer d. Roddick
2006: Federer d. Nadal
2007: Federer d. Nadal
2008: Nadal d. Federer
2009: Federer d. Roddick
2010: Nadal d. Berdych
2011: Djokovic d. Nadal
2012: Federer d. Murray
2013: Murray d. Djokovic
2014: Djokovic d. Federer
2015: Djokovic d. Federer
2016: Murray d. Raonic
2017: Federer d. Cilic
2018: Djokovic d. Anderson

I think the first one who is gonna win a Slam is gonna have a massive advantage on the other one. Maybe Felix will be this one. Maybe other players. Maybe Tsitsipas. Could be a lot of players, because they have a very, very good generation. But you still have three guys that are tough to beat.


They have a huge advantage winning. Maybe its hard to understand this from the outside, but when you win that much, or for us when we lost that many matches against them, you know, its really hard. Even when some days you play better than them, youre in position, but its hard to finish.

Its going to be easier for younger players to do that. Sometimes you play them for the first time, you dont know what to expect yet. You go there. You didnt lose yet. When you lose once, twice, three times, four times to the same player, its really hard to win the fifth one.

So it can always happen. You can always have a young player playing his best game, bringing his best game and beating one of the top players. But there are still three, and from now, even if they are one more time less consistent than before, because for so many years they were in the semi-final basically every time, every tournament of the season, you still have one better than the other one right now.

Boris Becker – a 17-year-old champion in these parts – has bemoaned the lack of progress made by the youngsters on the biggest stage, criticising the mindset of the stars of tomorrow, although John McEnroe is convinced Auger-Aliassime has the attitude to be the best player in the world – a popular opinion among those associated with the game.

But can an 18-year-old in this day and age seriously challenge for a Slam? The Big Three dont see any reason why not.


Nadal said in Madrid earlier this year: I believe that the best players in the history, not all ones, but almost everyone who has won a Grand Slam before 20, so there is no one reason today why this cannot happen again, thats my feeling.

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