Alex de Minaur, Novak Djokovic’s winner at the start of the year, looks to continue his momentum in Melbourne

The tennis player is a creature of habit. Pre-match rituals, tics while serving, management sometimes becoming obsessed with water bottles… Alex de Minaur is in the process of developing a routine that he will be inspired to continue throughout his career: starting the season with a bang.

On January 2, 2023, the Australian teenager defeated Rafael Nadal in the United Cup, a mixed team competition held in Sydney. A year and a day later, he caught Novak Djokovic in the same tournament, this time in Perth.

Beating the Serb with a racket in his hand is already an achievement in itself. But he’s doing so in Australia, where Novak Djokovic continued his streak of 43 consecutive wins in 2018. not allowed to play at Australian Open in 2022 due to vaccination status – even more. It didn’t matter that the world No.1 appeared to be hampered by a right elbow injury. “I don’t want to spend too much time talking about this and take away Minaur’s reputation. “He was very solid as always.”After his defeat, the handsome player accepted Djokovic.

Based on its success The man with ten crowns at the Australian OpenAlex de Minaur is now hoping to steal the throne from him in Melbourne. His mission begins on Monday, January 15 (the night between Sunday and Monday in France) against Milos Raonic.

Faced with being almost twice the height of the Canadian giant, an untrained eye might worry about the young Australian whose removable hat cannot hide his undersized physique (1.83 m, 69 kg), which is far from the usual standards of the track. But it is he who will act as a scarecrow when the time comes to attend the court. His victory over Djokovic, combined with victories over two other members of the top 10 in Perth, Alexander Zverev and Taylor Fritz, actually allowed Minaur to enter this closed circle as well (10)to).

“I think I have the playing ability to beat the best players in the world. But maybe I’m missing a few little details, some confidence and belief that are needed to do it at a Grand Slam.”, He trusted Him. WorldAt the end of October, before the Masters 1000 in Paris-Bercy. There is no doubt that his start to the season must have given him as much confidence as the Australian public, who were waiting for one of their compatriots to lift the trophy at the men’s singles table. Since Mark Edmondson, in 1976 (among women, Ashleigh Barty wins in 2022).

A very lonely “devil” in Australia

Away from Oceania, Alex de Minaur spent part of his childhood on land and in Spain; created a game consisting of blocks, slides, and back-and-forth plays to return all the balls. The young man with top-of-the-range looks seems to have learned lessons in the “Nadal school”: always friendly and approachable off the court, he turns into a formidable opponent the moment he steps on the court. . The only differences with the Majorcan: the angry fist is accompanied by a slightly less protruding bicep than that of the big fist, and “To go!” » is replaced by ” Come on ! “.

The screams of courage that gave him the nickname “The Devil” will continue to echo in Rod Laver Arena in center field throughout these two weeks. “If there’s one place I want to achieve a big result, it’s here. It’s every Australian’s dream.”, recognizes the relevant person. It is not yet known how long his run at Melbourne Park will last. It has never done better than the round of 16, reached in the last two years.

“He has made progress but if he wins a Grand Slam it would be the surprise of the century.”He thinks of 2001 Australian Open finalist Arnaud Clément. Just as the French did at Roland-Garros, the Australians need to manage huge pressure in Melbourne. » A pressure that Alex de Minaur has to endure alone, or almost despite the departures of compatriots Bernard Tomic and Nick Kyrgios. These two men, who were heralded as possible Major winners on their debut, are now making headlines in the press for all their escapades, even as Kyrgios boasts – such as Tomic spending a night in prison in 2015. Reached the Wimbledon final in 2022.

“We are all different and at different times in our careers.”, ignores “The Devil” when discussing the challenges of Australian tennis. He prefers to concentrate on his game: “I think there will be a lot of opportunities for some players in the future. It’s exciting and I plan to be a part of it. »

Leave a Comment