Rising Canadian star Felix Auger-Aliassime has acknowledged that Novak Djokovic is still ranked at No. 1 in the world and he believes Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer will be competitive as thet have always have been when they return.
Djokovic, Nadal and Federer are all missing this year’s event.
Following an exhausting summer, Djokovic decided to take a break.
On the other side, both Nadal and Federer called it a season in August due to injuries.
It was going to come eventually. A change in generation. Novak is still number one, and Roger and Rafa we will see how they come back,” said the world number 11, per Tennishead.
“But they have done it so many times in the past in their careers. They are going to be tough to beat for as long as they play.
“Having tournaments like this where the average age of the top eight seeded players is 23, you know that it is going to be highly competitive.
“But as a young player, you try and establish yourself with those top players who will dominate or win the big titles in the year to come.
“For me, the challenge is big, but at the same time the motivation is big as well to try to play well to end the season and put myself with those best players in the world.”
Auger-Aliassime set for his third Indian Wells appearance
Auger-Aliassime has never made it past the third round in Indian Wills but he will certainly hope to do so this year with the Big Three out.
A few days, Auger-Aliassime’s coach Toni Nadal admitted he never imagined Nadal and Federer would achieve so much.
“I could never have imagined that they would achieve as much as they did,” Toni said of Nadal and Federer, as quoted on Tennis Majors. “Federer, yes, we saw that he would be one of the best in history — because he does everything well. When I saw that Rafael at [23 or 24 years old] had already [won every] Grand Slam, I started to think that he could win a lot and that he could aspire to be one of the best.”