Demon has Italian ‘revenge’ mission on his mind after taking an early mark in Australian Open opener
Australia’s world No.10 ranked Alex de Minaur got an early mark in his much anticipated first round appearance at the Australian Open – then vowed to wreak revenge on his next opponent – Italy’s’s Matteo Arnaldi.
The Demon was embroiled in an entertaining battle with former world No.3 Milos Raonic before it petered out tamely with his opponent forced to withdraw injured in the third set behind 6-7 (8-6) 6-3 2-0.
The rangy Canadian had cliamed the first in a tie breaker before the Aussie claimed the second via a break of service in the sixth match.
Raonic battled on despite a medical time out for his hip issue in the first set and his wife was close to tears while watching from the stands.
His former coach John McEnroe, speaking on Channel Nine, said it was “tough to see any player walk out this way. It really is.
“It’s also sad because I don’t know if we will ever see him here again. I’m not sure how much longer he will be able to keep playing, honestly.
“I feel bad for Milos – he really works hard to try and get that body to the point where he can do some damage. That blows.”
De Minaur was gracious in victory and acknowledged how hard the Canadian had made him work in the first set especially.
“Not great to see him like this. He deserves to be healthy and playing incredible tennis that he has done for so many years. Hopefully he is back in no time,” de Minaur said.
“As you saw I was chasing his serve for the better part of that match. Guessing every now and again. Ended up getting maybe a little bit unlucky to not win the first set, got a little bit tight at the end.
“I just focused on myself, second set, had myself restart and managed to jag a break out of the blue and change the momentum.”
De Minaur’s next assignment is against 22-year-old Italian Matteo Arnaldi, wh beat Aussie Alexei Popyrin in the Davis Cup final in November.
During that final De Minaur, who has been in hot form leading up to the Australian Open, was thumped by Jannik Sinner – a result the Aussie raged “stinks like hell.”
He said revenge was on his mind.
“He’s a good player and we had a bit of an encounter at the Davis Cup at the end of the year. We had a brutal run against Italy so hopefully I can get some revenge for Australia.