Felix Auger-Aliassime says it will take ‘a monumental effort’ from Rafael Nadal to win French Open

Rafael Nadal in action

He wishes Rafael Nadal “the very best” for the remainder of the French Open, but Felix Auger-Aliassime feels it will take a colossal feat from the Spaniard to win this year’s title at Roland Garros.

Nadal started the French Open undercooked on clay as he had played five matches on the surface this year, but he won his first three encounters in Paris comfortably.

However, he was given a workout by Auger-Aliassime in the fourth round on Sunday as the Canadian took him to five sets before he won 3-6, 6-3, 6-2, 3-6, 6-3 in four hours and 21 minutes.

And it doesn’t get easier for Nadal as next up is defending champion and world No 1 Novak Djokovic, who beat him in last year’s semi-final.

If he comes through the quarter-final then he will face either rising star Carlos Alcaraz or Alexander Zverev.

“I wish Rafa the very best, I admire him greatly in everything that he’s done. He’s somebody who I really like, and so I wish him the very best for the next match,” Auger-Aliassime said.

“But then I think that he also knows that it’s going to be difficult. We played for a long time and it’s still the quarter-finals and afterwards there’s still two more matches to win to win the tournament. Rafa is coming here to win the tournament.

“So as I said, I really wish him the very best, but it will be a monumental effort for him, I think, to win. But as he and Novak have always done, they will give it their all right through to the end and it will be a great battle.”

The ninth seed also gave an assessment of his own performance against Nadal as he admits “a few dips” cost him in the end.

“[It takes] a lot of effort, a lot of concentration. At one point even though he raised the level of his game, there were a few dips, physically, mentally, and I kind of lost the order of the game. I lost my intentions at one point,” he said. “But despite everything, I managed to come back when necessary, to serve well again.

“At the end of the day, I showed some positive things, and I managed to last the whole run and it’s positive for what comes next.”