sports

Why Alex De Minaur is the young Aussie male tennis star we should be talking about today.

On Saturday, an Australian tennis player did something extraordinary you might’ve missed.

Alex De Minaur, a 19-year-old from NSW played and won the Sydney International semi-final. Five hours later, in 33-degree heat and Sydney’s signature humidity, he played in the final against a well-rested opponent to win his first career title. He’s the youngest player to win the tournament since Aussie tennis legend Lleyton Hewitt did so back in 2001, and the first Aussie to do so since Bernard Tomic in 2013.

“I thought it wouldn’t happen… you guys don’t know how much it means to do it in front of all you guys, in front of my home,” he told the crowd following his memorable win as Hewitt and his nine-year-old son Cruz watched on from De Minaur’s player’s box.

To not only play, but win with just five hours recovery time between elite level matches is a massive achievement. But to do so without complaint over the unfavourable change in schedule due to wet weather, playing a tournament in a stadium without a roof, aching muscles and mental fatigue – it’s the kind of professionalism and sportsmanship Aussie tennis fans have been missing from their young male players.

While attention was focused on what our men’s tennis stars have been saying and doing off the court, De Minaur was working. The teenager finished 2018 at 31 in the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) world ranking. In 2017, that number was 208.

ADVERTISEMENT

De Minaur is now the number one Australian men’s tennis player, and went into the Australian Open with a career-high ATP ranking of 29.

So who is Alex De Minaur? Here’s what you need to know about the Australian men’s tennis player we should be talking about.

Who is Alex De Minaur?

Alex ‘Demon’ De Minaur is Australia’s number one men’s tennis player.

The 19-year-old was born in Sydney, his father Anibal is Uruguayan and owned a CBD restaurant, and his mother Esther is Spanish. It was Esther who encouraged her son to play tennis at the age of four, signing him up for lessons and driving him to local tournaments.

De Minaur’s family relocated to Alicante, a city on Spain’s south-east coast, when he was five. Although he went through his primary schooling in Spain, De Minaur returned to Australia at 13 where he won the Australian under 14s Championships at Melbourne Park in 2013. When his father’s Sydney restaurant closed, the family returned to Spain. There, De Minaur debuted on the ATP rankings in 2015 at number 1,544. He completed his high school education while on tour.

De Minaur currently lives in Alicante where he trains with Spanish coach Adolfo Gutierrez and is backed by Tennis Australia. The teenager speaks fluent English and Spanish, and is a dual Australian-Spanish citizen. Despite originally representing Spain in some junior tournaments, he always felt a stronger bond with Australia, the Sydney Morning Herald reported.

“I used to represent Spain but I always felt I was Australian. As soon as we moved back here again that was the first thing I wanted to do – play for Australia,” the then-17-year-old told the publication in 2017.

“It was tough on me moving back to Australia where I didn’t know anyone because it had been so long. But in no time I loved Australia more than I liked Spain.”

In 2018, De Minaur was awarded the 2018 Newcombe Medal alongside fellow impressive young Aussie female tennis player Ash Barty.

Know zero about tennis? That’s OK, here’s a quick crash course about what tennis looks like IRL. Post continues after video.

Video by MMC
ADVERTISEMENT

Alex De Minaur on the court in 2018.

After making his Grand Slam debut in 2017 at the Australian Open, De Minaur rose from an ATP ranking of 208 to 31 by the end of 2018.

In May, 2018, he fell in the opening round of the French Open, defeated in straight sets by British player Kyle Edmund. After successful results at ATP challenger tournaments – he won the 2018 Nottingham Open – De Minaur made it the third round of Wimbledon where he was defeated by tennis great Rafeal Nadal. Most recently, he played in the Washington Open grand final against Alexander Zverev. Although he lost, this match saw De Minaur enter the ATP top 50 for the first time.

At the time of publishing, De Minaur has made it to the second round of the Australian Open, where he will play Switzerland’s Henri Laaksonen Wednesday night.

Stats aside, it’s De Minaur’s on-court manor that has captured the attention of Aussies looking for an Australian men’s player to get behind. In short, De Minaur plays with the passion Aussie tennis player’s are known for, without the outbursts and racket tosses.

Even as a 15-year-old, De Minaur was aware of how much of a role controlling your emotions plays in achieving on-court success.

“I’m usually very calm on court, I don’t let these things affect me too much because the end result is always worse if I do let it affect me,” he told Tennis.com.au in 2015, the year he debuted on the ATP circuit.

Commentary on his press conferences is positive – he talks about how important it is to put in the work pre-season, but to also compete and have fun. Humble and focused are two of the most commonly used words to describe the young Aussie player, words we unfortunately haven’t been able to apply to some of his peers for many years.

Alex De Minaur off the court.

If your kids are looking for a tennis player to support at the Australian Open (aside from Ash Barty), rest assured they can follow Alex De Minaur on Instagram.

The teenager’s feed is full of tennis-related shots, as well as behind-the-scenes photos from training with fellow Aussie tennis names including Nick Kyrgios and Lleyton Hewitt.

First round feels ???????????? #fireup #deMon #grinddontstop #ausopen

A post shared by Alex De Minaur ???????? (@alexdeminaur) on

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Both on and off the court, De Minaur’s passion for playing professional tennis for Australia is obvious. And it’s exactly what we need to see more of from our young sporting stars.

Are you watching the Australian Open this year? Who is your favourite player?

Light blue and pink butterfly illustration. You click, we help. Shooting star illustration.

Mamamia is funding 100 girls in school, every day.

So just by spending time with Mamamia, you’re helping educate girls, which is the best tool to lift them out of poverty.

Thanks for helping!

Light blue and pink butterfly illustration. Girl with pigtails sitting at desk writing in notebook. Row of four books.
Three hands holding books
00:00 / ???