"One of the best surprises I've had in my life."
Montreal tennis star Félix Auger-Aliassime celebrated his 22nd birthday on August 8 surrounded, unexpectedly, by friends and family.
A video posted by Tennis Canada shows the moment Auger-Aliassime's relatives surprised him with an appearance at Montreal's Stade IGA.
He arrived at the stadium under the guise of a lesson with pianist Alexandra Stréliski. The pair thumbs through a few tunes at a piano in the bleachers before Stréliski begins playing the happy birthday song. She then gestures to an entrance to their left where Auger-Aliassime's friends and family begin pouring in.
\u201cQuand l\u2019art rencontre les sports, un sentiment intangible remplit l\u2019air.\n\nD\u2019autant plus avec deux grands ambassadeurs de la culture qu\u00e9b\u00e9coise comme @felixaliassime et la pianiste @alexstreliski \ud83c\udfbe \ud83c\udfb6\n\nC\u2019est \u00e7a ressentir le tennis.\u201d— Tennis Canada (@Tennis Canada) 1660092017
An emotional Félix looks on as they sing "Bonne Fête."
"It's incredible to see everyone," he says, explaining that training and tournament preparation have kept him from going out himself to see the people he cares about.
"To see everyone here, it's one of the best surprises I've had in my life."
Auger-Aliassime later took to Twitter to reflect on the day, sharing photos of encounters at Stade IGA and his enormous birthday cake topped with a stack of macarons.
"Celebrating my birthday in my hometown will always be special," he wrote. "What a beautiful night reconnecting with my family, childhood friends and people that mean a lot to me."
He also thanked fans for their birthday messages.
\u201chttps://t.co/s2jnDibwr1\u201d— F\u00e9lix AugerAliassime (@F\u00e9lix AugerAliassime) 1660017810
Auger-Aliassime's birthday surprise comes amid the National Bank Open.
The tournament has already made headlines because of two notable absences. Spanish player Rafael Nadal withdrew because of an abdominal injury. And Serbian player Novak Djokovic was unable to enter Canada because of his COVID-19 vaccination status.