‘I can go deep at Australian Open’: Alex de Minaur using United Cup experience to drive himself
Belief is growing that Alex de Minaur can become the first Australian man in 48 years to win the Australian Open – as long as he remembers to bring his weapons.
De Minaur showcased his awesome potential on Monday night when he crushed world No.10 Taylor Fritz 6-4 6-2 at the United Cup in Perth, helping Australia secure a quarter-final berth.
The 24-year-old claimed five top-10 scalps in 2023, and also won his seventh ATP Tour title, as well as reaching his first Masters 1000 decider.
But it was his display against Fritz that has set tongues wagging, with the performance arguably the most ruthless of de Minaur’s career.
Ash Barty ended the nation’s 44-year Australian Open women’s title drought when she triumphed in 2022.
But not since Mark Edmondson in 1976 has an Aussie man triumphed in the singles at Melbourne Park.
World No.12 de Minaur is Australia’s biggest hope this year, and he is well placed to better his fourth-round appearances in 2022 and 2023.
But de Minaur, whose summer training program was tailored to beefing up physically, knows he will need to bring more than just his famed speed and agility to match it with the world’s best.
“When you look at me play, the one thing that stands out, it’s probably my speed, right?” de Minaur said.
“Sometimes I rely a little bit too much on my speed and I don’t use the other areas of my game, which can be very dangerous.
“(But) I can also use my speed to take time away to come to the net, to steal a lot of points at the net and be aggressive.
“I’ve got a lot of different weapons that sometimes I forget to use and I don’t bring out.
“To take it to the next level (I need) to bring these extra weapons out for the matches.”
De Minaur gained great confidence out of his demolition of Fritz, with the display fuelling hopes the home favourite can bring home the Australian Open crown when the season-opening grand slam starts on Sunday week.
“If I can bring this sort of level, then there’s no reason why I can’t go out and have a deep run,” de Minaur said.
“That’s the goal.”
De Minaur was ruthless against Fritz, running the American ragged while also producing a series of dazzling winners in a top-level display.
“I bring this level often in practice,” de Minaur said.
“Maybe not as often on the match court, but I do know that I’m capable of at this level.
“Top 10 (players) in the world, they do this week after week. That’s the secret. That’s what they do.
“They don’t do it just in practice; they do it in matches as well.
“I’m very close to where I want to be but it’s about showing this side of myself as often as I can.”