Felix Auger-Aliassime said the profile of the 2023 Indian Wells tournament would not suffer with Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal being absent.
Djokovic was unable to compete at Indian Wells this year after his request for travel to the US was denied. Nadal also missed out on the 2023 edition due to an ongoing hip injury, leading to question marks about when the Spanish player will return to the court.
In his pre-tournament press conference, Auger-Aliassime explained that many other leading men's players could step up to provide high-quality action at the ATP Masters 1000 event.
"It's not gonna change much I think [on Djokovic and Nadal's absence]. At the end of the day, there is a great field of players in the tournament that's gonna go on and it'll be a success."
However, despite his admission that many top players could step up in the absence of two of the all-time tennis greats, Auger-Aliassime believes that most competitors would want to test themselves against the best in any tournament.
"You know, I think for tennis, you want all the best players in the tournament. I think even me, as a competitor, like if I do win a tournament like this one, I wanna feel like there were the best of the best in the draw. Also, it's not great for anybody that like Rafa and Novak are missing."
Auger-Aliassime begins his singles campaign at Indian Wells with a second-round match against Pedro Martinez.
The Canadian has already featured in the doubles competition and he and compatriot Denis Shapovalov progressed past Ben Shelton and Holger Rune on Friday.