‘I can’t get enough’: De Minaur finds love in Paris after career-best grand slam win over Medvedev



Alex de Minaur gazed up to his player’s box and bellowed out his new-found passion for the city where he swore it was always raining, and the heavy clay courts where he wasn’t supposed to have a chance. 

And the first thing he thought about after knocking out Daniil Medvedev for the best win of his grand slam career was how on earth was he going to face his back-up team who he’d been moaning at for years, telling them he couldn’t play on the red stuff.

“Now it looks like it’s one of my best slam results. Looks like I’ve converted myself into a clay specialist!” beamed the 25-year-old, who is now in only the second grand slam quarter-final of his career. 

“The toughest thing is dealing with my team, because obviously they’ve got bragging rights, and they give me a lot of slack for me complaining all these years about my level on the clay!”

Despite his protestations, though, this was a breakthrough that might have been coming. 

True, de Minaur had never before got past the second round of the clay-court slam in seven attempts before this year, but the more he has played on the surface, the more comfortable, patient, efficient – and attacking – he has got.

In 2022, he reached the semi-finals of the Barcelona Open and gave Carlos Alcaraz a rare old scare, in 2023 he made the Barcelona quarters again and this season, he reached the Monte Carlo quarter-finals and beat Rafael Nadal, again in Barcelona. Each year, there’s been a discernible improvement.

Most of all, he believed, this was a victory for experience, for continually going to the well in grand slams – 27 now – and improving bit by bit each year.

“So much of grand slam tennis in my opinion is just experience, because ultimately you can put in all the work in the world — and I believe I’m one to do so — but it’s how you conserve energy, how you use your energy in these long, gruelling five-set matches, that there’s a lot to learn from. 

“And it’s not just the fact that you play a gruelling match, it’s about how you then bounce back for the next round. That’s probably what my body has now started to get used to,” added the 25-year-old, who took two hours 49 minutes to subdue Medvedev. 

Alex de Minaur celebrates his victory. (Photo by Tim Clayton/Corbis via Getty Images)

“Mentally I was very calm today. I knew that there was a good chance that we could even go into a fifth set, so I was ready for anything.

What has surprised him most is that he hasn’t even had the conditions in Paris that might best suit him. Yes, the sunshine showed its face on Monday, but the courts were still nowhere near their fastest after the pounding from the rain they’d taken the previous week.

De is the first Australian man to make the French Open quarter-finals in two decades is the biggest triumph of his career.

“It’s pretty extraordinary, if you ask me. I always thought that for me to play well on the clay I needed hot, lively conditions,” said de Minaur, who’d never before been past the second round at Roland Garros.

“But this whole tournament has proven otherwise, right? It’s been a complete shock to the system, to everything I ever believed in.”

Alex de Minaur becomes the first Australian man into the final eight at Roland-Garros since Lleyton Hewitt in 2004 after defeating Daniil Medvedev.

Catch the highlights ????#RolandGarros pic.twitter.com/kunscEMJh7

— Roland-Garros (@rolandgarros) June 3, 2024

The moment he became the first Aussie man to make the last-eight at the French since his idol, mentor and Davis Cup captain Lleyton Hewitt in 2004, de Minaur just roared towards his player’s box: “I love the clay! I love it here! I can’t get enough!”

Maybe he really can’t. Next up he’ll face either Olympic champ Alexander Zverev or Holger Rune in the last-eight, believing anything’s possible.

De Minaur delighted the Court Suzanne Lenglen crowd afterwards by telling them in French of his amazement that in the tactical, high-speed game of chess with fifth seed Medvedev, he was able to deliver checkmate in four chapters.

It was a major breakthrough for the indefatigable world No.11 who had lost all six of his previous grand slam matches against top-five players. 

Nothing but respect.@DaniilMedwed ???? @alexdeminaur #RolandGarros pic.twitter.com/XgHp8TCoVT

— Roland-Garros (@rolandgarros) June 3, 2024

Fifth-seed Medvedev had beaten him in last year’s US Open and held a 6-2 head-to-head superiority but on the clay the Russian has never enjoyed, de Minaur this time proved too attacking, too fast and too inventive.

“He played probably the best match we played,” acknowledged the former US Open champ, impressed by de Minaur’s serving in particular. “I didn’t see him play like this before.”

Indeed, de Minaur could hardly credit how he reduced the man who’s featured in six grand slam finals to frustration as he constantly pierced his ‘Octopus’ defence with 51 searing winners.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.