The electric rise of Alex De Minaur

8 January 2019

TENNIS: In the space of 12 months, Alex De Minaur’s world ranking has skyrocketed from 208th to 29th with the teenager now boasting the title of Australia’s top ranked male tennis player.

De Minaur has quickly become a household name, bursting onto the tennis scene and upsetting top-50 world ranked opponents, leaving many wondering where this stealthy 19-year-old came from. 

But the Sydneysider’s journey to the top began long before he tangled with the likes of Rafael Nadal and won the Australian Open play-offs last year. 

De Minaur started playing tennis as a four-year-old, making his professional debut in 2015 as a 16-year-old with his ranking hovering between 1500-1600 for his debut season. 

By the end of 2016, the nicknamed "Demon," had jumped to 354 and continued his velocious descent before grabbing the illustrious title of Aussie number one in October last year.

2018 was a breakout year for De Minaur, who kicked off January by making it to the semi-finals of his first ATP Tour in Brisbane. It wasn’t long before he upped the ante, making it to the finals of the Sydney International, taking down world-number 42, Benoit Paire. 

But it was at Wimbledon where the world began to stand up and take notice of the young Aussie. 

De Minaur defeated both world-number 29, Marco Cecchinato and world-number 50, Pierre-Hugues Herbert before coming up against tennis juggernaut and world-number one, Rafael Nadal. 

A battle of David and Goliath proportions, Nadal ultimately put an end to De Minaur’s Wimbledon streak.  

But it was all valuable learning experience for the youngster, who took it into the US Open where he reached the third round of competition. 

Alongside fellow superstar Ash Barty, De Minaur’s efforts on the court won him the prestigious Newcombe Medal at the Tennis Australia Awards. 

“This is something I definitely did not expect,” he said at the awards ceremony. 

“It’s been a whirlwind of a year – I’ve enjoyed every second of it. I’ve just tried to keep improving each day, keep battling it out, keep fighting every single point. I’m super proud of my efforts. 

“I could not have done it without the great team of guys I’ve got around me. Starting with my coach Adolfo Gutierrez, who’s not here right now. 

"My manager David Drysdale, Phil Bonney, and also have to thank Lleyton Hewitt, who’s been a great mentor of mine and has helped me out a lot, helped me really believe in myself and that I do belong here on the tour. 

“I want to congratulate Ash again on another amazing year – what she has done is just truly remarkable, not only on court but off the court as well. Really would not want to let you down in mixed doubles!" 

Ash and Alex Newcombe

De Minaur was also named ATP’s Newcomer of the Year’ and 2019 is shaping up to be just as successful for the newcomer who has just kicked off his Australian Open campaign. 

Going into the competition fifth-seeded, De Minaur is aiming to make his second Australian Open play-off and has made a strong start, proceeding to the quarterfinals of the Brisbane International last week.

Now, De Minaur contends the Sydney International with his first match a win over Dusan Lajovic.

World-number 15, Greece’s Stefanos Tsitsipas, is the favourite to take out the title, but the Aussie young-gun has got what it takes to cause a massive upset. 

“I can’t look too far ahead. [I’m] struggling just to stay in the present. You can’t look into the future and can’t dwell on the past. It’s all about the present and what you do each day. 

“That’s what I’ve got to focus on.” 

De Minaur will next face USA’s Reilly Opelka in the last 16 of the Sydney International. You can follow all the action HERE 

Liana Buratti
olympics.com.au

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