Could Alex De Minaur Be Australia’s Next Tennis Star?

The 2018 season is well and truly underway, and as we count down to the first Grand Slam of the year, beginning in Melbourne on January 15, it seems the tennis world may have discovered its latest star. His name is Alex De Minaur, and at 18 years of age, he has just reached his second ATP World Tour semi-final in as many weeks, beating World No.36, Feliciano Lopez, 6-4 6-4 in Sydney.

Competing in his hometown, De Minaur remained calm and composed throughout the match, even when Lopez broke him back in the second set, forcing the young Australian to serve out the match. De Minaur had the answer to Lopez’s every move, forcing the Spaniard to the net before delivering a killer passing shot, returning Lopez’s serve well, and moving incredibly. Although the young Australian may not boast the same physical stature as a young Rafael Nadal (De Minaur is 5’ 11’ and weighs a mere 69kg), his performance was very Nadal-esque in terms of its strategy and execution. The youngster can now look forward to a semi-final match against Benoit Paire, a man he beat in the first round in Sydney last year. Both his record against Paire, and his current form, will give De Minaur plenty of confidence going into their match. He will be hoping to go one match better this time than was the case last week in Brisbane, where he lost in a tough semi-final to American Ryan Harrison.
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Could Alex De Minaur be Australia’s next tennis star?

Alex De Minaur’s recent success is no fluke. Having turned pro in 2015, the young Australian has earned his place among the world’s elite through years of hard work on the ATP Challenger tour, as well as support from Australian tennis legend and former World No.1, Lleyton Hewitt. In addition to beating Paire in Sydney last year, De Minaur also reached the second round at the Australian Open and Wimbledon. Nonetheless, the Australian has a long road ahead of him, if he is to consistently rise up the rankings. For instance, questions still remain regarding his fitness for best-of-five-set matches, something that even the likes of Alexander Zverev and Dominic Thiem struggled with in the early stages of their careers. It appears though, that De Minaur has the right people around him, as well as the right temperament, to break into the world’s top-20.
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Can Alex De Minaur make a statement at the Australian Open?

On his way to reaching the semis in Brisbane, he dispatched World No.23, Milos Raonic, in straight sets 6-4 6-4. The Australian Open draw has subsequently pitched De Minaur up against World No.20, Tomas Berdych. Both Berdych and Raonic have similar playing styles, and De Minaur will fancy his chances against the 32-year-old Czech in Melbourne. The question is, is he going get enough rest ahead of the match? Young players undoubtedly benefit from playing as many matches as possible, especially if they are going through a good run of form. But De Minaur has to make sure that he allows himself plenty of time to recover in time for the Australian Open, because Berdych will punish any mental and physical fatigue without mercy.
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If Alex De Minaur gets enough rest ahead before the 15th January, and if he builds on the confidence that he will have acquired during these two weeks, he could surprise a few people during the Australian Open fortnight. De Minaur will have the home crowd behind him, and at eighteen years of age, he can use the experience of playing alongside the world’s best to develop his game further. These are promising times for Alex De Minaur, and alongside his recent run of form, a good Australian Open run can act as a catalyst for him to join the world’s greatest tennis players on the tour this year.

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