© 2022 Getty Images

Alex de Minaur will lead the home charge at the Australian Open.

De Minaur: 'Only Positive Vibes Going Into 2022'

‘Demon’ happy to put troubled 2021 season behind him

Alex de Minaur has found his groove again – just in time to lead Australia’s cohort of ATP Tour players at his home Grand Slam.

After mixed results in 2021, the 22-year-old is determined to approach the 2022 season with a different mindset.

“You're going to have highs, you're going to have lows. It's about how you deal with them, how you get back up towards the highs,” de Minaur said in Melbourne.

“Look, a lot of work mentally has to be done for you to stay on top of that. You got to stay positive. That's the mindset. Only positive vibes going into 2022. Whatever happens, I'm putting myself out there in the best possible position to perform.”

Representing Australia has always been close to de Minaur’s heart – literally. The World No. 34 has ‘109’ tattooed on his chest, an allusion to the fact that he was the 109th player to represent Australia at Davis Cup when he made his debut in 2018.

A positive COVID-19 test which prevented him competing at the Tokyo Olympics was the nadir of de Minaur’s 2021 season. It was a year in which de Minaur captured ATP Tour titles at the Antalya Open and Viking International Eastbourne but also suffered 11 first-round exits, including at Wimbledon and the US Open where he was defending quarterfinal points.

Fittingly, it’s strong performances for Australia at the Davis Cup by Rakuten Finals and the ATP Cup two weeks ago which have boosted de Minaur’s confidence heading into the Australian Open.

“It was very important. It's no secret that last year I had a little bit of a slump after COVID. Didn't have the results I wanted to. Confidence-wise I was a bit low,” de Minaur said.

“I felt as soon as I was able to kind of put that year behind me, even Davis Cup, I was able to really turn a corner both mentality-wise and kind of confidence-wise. I was able to have two battles out there.”

De Minaur played mesmerising three-set clashes against Marin Cilic and the in-form Marton Fucsovics to end his 2021 season, before scoring singles victories over World No. 7 Matteo Berrettini and Ugo Humbert during Australia’s ATP Cup campaign.

“I was able to bring out a part of me that I had forgotten about for a while. After that we were able to get straight back onto the practice court, have a very tough pre-season,” de Minaur said.

“It's just great to see the hard work paying off at the ATP Cup, coming out and playing some great tennis against quality opponents, starting off my Aussie summer very well. It's a very good feeling, a very good confi[dence] boost coming into the Open.”

Seeded 32nd on his fifth main-draw appearance at the Australian Open, de Minaur would need to make the last 16 to exceed his previous best result in Melbourne after exiting at the third round in 2020 and 2021. But with Lorenzo Musetti awaiting him in the first round, de Minaur isn’t looking too far ahead – although, true to his ‘good vibes only’ resolution for 2022, he’s doing it with a positive mindset.

“I've been able to kind of have a very good pre-season, work on myself and aspects of my game that I felt needed improving, and being able to come out of the blocks playing exactly the type of tennis that I want to be playing. Very, very good start to the year,” de Minaur said.

“Now it's all about maintaining that. Hopefully I can keep on delivering that sort of tennis which I think I can deliver week in and week out.”