U.S. Open: Canada's Auger-Aliassime pleased with increased diversity

Auger-Aliassime said he also felt a responsibility to be a role model for the small but growing numbers of players of colour in the game.

Felix Auger-Aliassime celebrates after winning a match against Corentin Moutet during the third round of the U.S. Open.   -  AP

Canada's Felix Auger-Aliassime is happy to see players from different ethnicities and backgrounds reach the latter stages of big tournaments but says officials can do even more to encourage diversity in professional tennis.

Auger-Aliassime, whose father was from Togo in West Africa, advanced to a Grand Slam fourth round for the first time on Saturday with a 6-1, 6-0, 6-4 victory over France's Corentin Moutet at the U.S. Open.

While the victory achieved a personal milestone, Auger-Aliassime said he also felt a responsibility to be a role model for the small but growing numbers of players of colour in the game.

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“Seeing players from different ethnicities, different backgrounds reaching later stages of tournaments like these, I think it's a really good example for the people watching us,” Auger-Aliassime told reporters.

“I was thinking today that you want to send out a good message. You hope that you're leading by example, that kids, in you, they see belief, that you can reach that whatever city, country you come from, whatever neighbourhood you come from.”

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Auger-Aliassime said he was lucky to grow up in a “melting pot” of cultures in Quebec and one of the benefits of the global tennis tours was that they could reach into every continent.

Players were generally welcomed everywhere they travelled, he said.

“I just love to see people from everywhere,” he said.

“It's just a great message to send out, to be open to diversity, people from different backgrounds.

“We're seeing change and we're seeing different faces on the tour. I'm glad to be part of that. It's great to see.”