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Felix Auger-Aliassime's first Olympic tennis events did not end the way he wanted them to. But the world's youngest top-20 player has perspective on the experience that would be admirable in someone twice his age.
His early upset singles loss was partly about the serve, which is one of his better weapons, having less than its usual impact. That's tennis, it happens. And Auger-Aliassime corrected his service nicely when he moved on to his first-ever mixed doubles match alongside Gabriela Dabrowski.
Imagine that. You try an event for the first time, and it's at the Olympics. Auger-Aliassime goes into detail with Player's Own Voice podcast host Anastasia Bucsis about the lessons he absorbed from this new situation. The geometry, the mixed doubles strategy of forcing unlikely angles on opponents, he soaked it all up in a hurry.
But the main takeaway for Auger-Aliassime is that, while some professional athletes are less enthusiastic about competing at the Olympics, he was all-in for Tokyo. If only because it met his own personal sense of what's right. Auger-Aliassime says that is the essence of the Olympics. A country sends its best athletes. If your country asks, you go.
No question, it was an earlier exit than anyone wanted, but Paris is only three years away. That should be a better outing, even at the ripe old age of 23.
Player's Own Voice will be working straight through the Tokyo Olympics, dropping episodes every day or two. These are friendly, intimate conversations with athletes at the pinnacle of their careers.
Like the CBC Sports' Player's Own Voice essay series the podcast allows athletes speak to Canadians about issues from a personal perspective.
To listen to the entire fourth season of POV podcast, subscribe for free on Spotify, iTunes, Google Podcasts, Stitcher, Tune In or wherever you do your other podcast listening.