Read & Watch: 5 Things To Know About De Minaur, Who Qualified For Milan
The 2018 Next Gen ATP Finals will feature eight up-and-coming players whose potential rise to the top of the ATP World Tour is still just beginning. But, over the past 11 months, perhaps no one's climb has been more meteoric than Alex de Minaur's.
In December, the #NextGenATP Aussie was No. 210 in the ATP Rankings. He reached a career-high No. 31 this week, and De Minaur could be even higher when he is scheduled to make his debut at the Next Gen ATP Finals, to be held 6-10 November in Milan.
The Aussie qualified on Wednesday, joining German Alexander Zverev, Greece's Stefanos Tsitsipas, Canadian Denis Shapovalov and Frances Tiafoe of the U.S. as players to have qualified for the 21-and-under event. (Zverev will not be playing in Milan because of his Nitto ATP Finals qualification.)
Here are five things to know about the #NextGenATP Aussie:
1. He Made History In The U.S. Capital
In the Citi Open semi-finals in August, De Minaur was staring down four consecutive match points, down 2/6 in the second-set tie-break against 2017 Next Gen ATP Finals runner-up Andrey Rublev. Yet the Aussie saved them all and reached the ATP World Tour 500-level final, beating the Russian 5-7, 7-6(6), 6-4.
Watch De Minaur's Comeback In D.C.
The 19-year-old De Minaur became the youngest Washington finalist since Andy Murray in 2006. De Minaur fell to two-time champion Zverev in the final, which was the youngest ATP World Tour title match since Rafael Nadal, 20, and Novak Djokovic, 19, at the 2007 BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells.
2. Aussie Legend Is In His Corner
If you were a young player looking for a mentor who's been there and won those titles, you could do hardly do better than to have two-time Grand Slam champion Lleyton Hewitt, one of the toughest competitors in recent history, in your corner. The Aussie legend works with De Minaur on and off throughout the year, but especially during the Aussie swing, Grand Slams and Davis Cup ties.
Watch Uncovered: Hewitt & De Minaur, A Perfect Combo
“He's obviously been through everything that tennis has to offer, so he knows how to deal with so many different scenarios... how to deal with expectations and pressures and, just playing big guys. It's all there. He gives me a lot of advice, and the only thing I do is take it all in,” De Minaur said.
3. He Moves Fast On The Court, And While Celebrating
De Minaur, whose nickname is “Demon”, might be one of the fastest players on the ATP World Tour. He dances pretty quickly as well.
4. He Comes From A Humble And Diverse Background
De Minaur's father, Anibal, is from Uruguay, and his mother, Esther, is Spanish. They own car washes and moved to Spain when De Minaur was five years old. The family, though, returned to Australia when he was 13, only to go back to Spain three years later. De Minaur represents his diverse background in tongue: He speaks English, Spanish and French.
5. Not Since Rafa Has Someone...
To start the year, De Minaur, then 18, made the Brisbane International semi-finals (l. to Harrison) and the Sydney International final (l. to Medvedev). He was the youngest player to reach semi-finals in consecutive weeks since Rafael Nadal at the 2005 Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters and Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell.
“It's all about me believing... I think that's finally happening and I'm very proud of even all the work I'm doing off court as well. That's, I think, really helping me on court and you can see the results now.”