Tennis player Félix Auger-Aliassime, who shone on some of sport’s biggest stages in 2022, is the winner of The Canadian Press’ Lionel Conacher Award as Male Athlete of the Year.
Auger-Aliassime is the third tennis player in history to receive this honor – awarded every year since 1932 – after Milos Raonic (2013, 2014) and Denis Shapovalov (2017). Decathlete Damian Warner won the award last year.
The 22-year-old Montrealer started the year ranked 11th in the world and finished the season a career-high 6th.
Auger-Aliassime won his first four career ATP Tour titles this year, including three in a row during a 16-game winning streak this fall in Florence, Antwerp and Basel. He also helped Canada win the Davis Cup for the first time.
“I managed to achieve all the goals I set for myself and more,” Auger-Aliassime said from Dubai. “I had already performed well halfway through the year, but finishing the year at the Turin Masters, winning the Davis Cup… I’m happy with my development as a person and as a player.”
Montreal stars Auger-Aliassime and Fernandez named Tennis Canada Players of the Year
Auger-Aliassime received 20 of 48 ballot votes from sportswriters and broadcasters across the country.
Footballer Alphonso Davies, who played with Bayern Munich and helped the Canadian team reach the World Cup, finished second with 10 votes. Hockey player Cale Makar, a star defenseman for the Stanley Cup-winning Colorado Avalanche, finished third with seven votes.
“It’s been a great year, so receiving this award — recognition from the Canadian public and media — is quite an honour,” Auger-Aliassime said. “That’s really nice.”
Auger-Aliassime lost his last eight appearances on the ATP Tour before finally breaking through with a title last February in Rotterdam. The six-foot-four, 194-pound right-hander was also a runner-up in Marseille and reached the Australian Open quarter-finals for a third consecutive season.
Tennis Canada performance director Guillaume Marx said this month that Auger-Aliassime “is on course, I think, to win a Grand Slam title within two years.”
Along with last month’s Davis Cup title, Auger-Aliassime has also helped his teams win the ATP Cup and Laver Cup this season.
“Felix is an incredible tennis player, but also a great person,” said Tennis Canada President Michael Downey. “We are proud of his accomplishments this year and know that his performances on and off the court will have inspired the next generation of tennis players in Canada.”
Auger-Aliassime also led the ATP Tour in hardcourt (45) and indoor (31) wins in 2022.
“Never has a Canadian tennis player had a year like the one Auger-Aliassime just finished. It was dominant at the end of the year,” says Gaétan Chiasson, editorial and new media director at Acadie Nouvelle.
Auger-Aliassime has beaten world No. 1 Carlos Alcaraz this season and also picked up victories over Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray and Rafael Nadal, all former top-ranked players.
“Felix’s rise in the world of tennis over the past few months has never been seen by a Canadian before,” said Paul Ferguson, sports editor at the Toronto Sun.
Hockey player Marie-Philip Poulin was named female athlete of the year by The Canadian Press on Wednesday. The winning team of the year will be announced on Friday.
#: Canada defeats Australia to win first Davis Cup championship
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