Tennis great dubs de Minaur a ‘certainty’ for 19-year Aussie men’s ranking high
Australian tennis great Wally Masur believes it’s just a matter of time before Alex de Minaur breaks into the top-ten ATP rankings, as he heads into the Australian Open in the best form of his career.
De Minaur secured his first ever win over a world No.1 when he took down the great Novak Djokovic 6-4, 6-4 in their United Cup tie, to help book Team Australia a semi-final date with either Germany or Greece.
Coming hot on the heels of his win over world No.10 Taylor Fritz just days prior, the 24-year old can add to his list of scalps with either Stefanos Tsitsipas or Alexander Zverev in Saturday evening’s singles tie – and Masur thinks the best is yet to come.
“He’s just gained experience over the last few years, got all sorts of confidence beating some top-five players, got some really big wins,” Masur told Nine.
“I just think he’s on the cusp of playing his best tennis and these coming few years we’ll see the best of him.
“I think the top 10 is a certainty, it’s coming, probably sooner rather than later.
“The quarters or semis [at the Australian Open] are beckoning, he’s got a high ranking and will have some protection in the draw.
“He’s got some genuine pre-seasons under his belt with off-court training, [and] he’s fitter and stronger than in the past.”
Currently ranked 12th in the world, de Minaur’s ascension into the top 10 would be the first time an Australian male has sat so high in the singles rankings since mentor Lleyton Hewitt in 2005, the last year the Australian Open had a home men’s singles finalist.
Of course, Ash Barty broke that glass ceiling in the women’s game in 2019, before going on to end the host nation’s drought on Rod Laver Arena in 2022 in her last match before her shock retirement.
Masur’s high praise comes as United Cup teammate John Millman claimed ‘the sky’s the limit’ for the rising star.
“I thought I was playing my best tennis at 28, 29,” Millman told the Sydney Morning Herald.
“So when you think about that and you think of where Alex is – there’s just so much upside to come with him.
“He had a great year, finishing at 12 in the world, and I’m very confident, as is all of Australian tennis, that he’ll take that much further sooner rather than later.
“To have someone in men’s tennis back inside that top 10, we’ve had the women up there lately in Ash, but the sky’s the limit once you’re in that top 10. And it’s been a long time between drinks since Lleyton.
With Nick Kyrgios to miss the tennis summer due to a wrist injury, de Minaur will once again be the nation’s great white hope when the Australian Open starts in just over a week’s time.
He has made it to the fourth round at his last two home grand slams, but been soundly beaten in straight sets twice by current top-five players Jannik Sinner (2022) and Djokovic (2023).
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However, he reached a maiden ATP Masters 1000 final at the Canadian Open in August last year before losing to Sinner again, and took a set off eventual finalist Daniil Medvedev in the fourth round at the US Open.