APRIL 21 - MAY 4, 2025

New heights for Auger-Aliassime in the Caja Magica

The Manolo Santana Stadium drew a collective gasp when Jiri Lehecka fell to his knees on the clay and called an end to his tournament. Felix Auger-Aliassime automatically progressed to the final of the Mutua Madrid Open after the Czech’s retirement through injury following a misstep in game five of the first set, when he called a medical time out. His next game would be his last before he decided he could not continue (3-3, 15-30).

“Obviously feeling bad for the players that are dealing with injuries right now. Jiri, it was tough to see him go down like this today. He’s a guy I practice with often. I have played him one time in Australia. I wish him all the best. It was tough to see thatt. But for now not much I can do. I can just focus on the final and try to prepare, yeah”, he explained.

On Sunday, the Canadian will take on Andrey Rublev (18:30) and will have the historic opportunity to be the first player from his country to win a Masters 1000. Before him Milos Raonic (Montreal 2013, Paris 2014, Indian Wells 2016 and Cincinnati 2020) and Denis Shapovalov (Paris 2019) have both fallen at the final hurdle.

The world No. 35, who will return to the Top 20 on Monday, will now play the biggest of the fifteen finals of his career in the Caja Magica and will be bidding to improve his 5-9 record from title bouts after taking the crown in Rotterdam (2022), Florence (2022), Antwerp (2022) and Basel (2022 and 2023).

“Now I’m in a Masters final. But the sport goes fast. I wasn’t unhappy with how things were going for me. Now I’m climbing my way back and playing better and better. It’s great that I get a chance now to be in a final. I feel like I have stayed consistent with my desire to play and improve and not getting frustrated when times were getting tougheryeah”, said the Canadian.

Auger-Aliassime will be squaring off against Rublev for the sixth time and he has only defeated him once (6-7[5], 6-4, 6-2 in Rotterdam 2022). Their last encounter was earlier this year at the same event, with his opponent taking the spoils (3-6, 7-6[6], 7-5).

“We’ve had many three-set battles since 2018. Our matches are very entertaining, tough battles and this year there were many match points in Rotterdam and I’ll hopefully go all the way this time. He’s always a player who forces you to fight, pressing you. He has highs and lows but he’s always there”, he concluded on his next opponent.