Alex de Minor became one of the main newsmakers of the first week of the tennis season. What do we know about the young talent?
On the way of Shapovalov?
In 2017, Alexander Zverev and Denis Shapovalov became the main tennis discoveries. Zverev was already well known, a breakthrough was expected from him, and it happened: Alexander won five titles, including two Masters, and climbed to third place in the ranking. Is that Zverev does not shine at the “Helmets” yet, he has not yet a single quarterfinals in his assets, but he will surely fix this in the coming season. A breakthrough of a different type occurred with Shapovalov, he made himself known thanks to the semifinals at the home Masters in Canada, and then reached the fourth round of the US Open. Of course, Denis is still very far from the top ten and the elite, but the Canadian is only 18. Two months before his birth, Alex de Minor was born in Sydney, Australia.
A year and a half ago, these two fought for the title at junior Wimbledon, and then Shapovalov won a tough victory in three sets. At the junior level, Alex was known quite well and reached the second place in the table of ranks, but he won his main victory so far in a pair. Together with Blake Ellis, de Minor won the 2016 Australian Open. In 2017, the Australian showed himself already at the adult level. The Australian Tennis Federation helped with getting into several tournaments, and Alex took advantage of this help. Until this week, he had only two victories in the ATP, but both were significant: an excellent victoria over Benoit Per and a five-set success at the Australian Open, where De Minor escaped 1-2 in sets and played matchball.
“I realized that I want to play for Australia”
By the way, in Spain he is called de Mignaur. The boy himself was born in Sydney, but the surname is Hispanic, which is not surprising, given that Esther’s mother is Spanish, and Anibal’s father is Uruguayan. At the age of five, Alex moved with his family to Alicante and lived there until 13, after which he returned to Australia again. In 2017, the parents decided to return to Europe after they closed their business on the Green Continent, and their son is literally torn apart and outside the tournaments moves between Alicante and Sydney. It is quite logical that the question arose of which country to represent, because, despite being born in Australia, he spent most of his still short career in Alicante. It is there that his residence is officially located, it is there that he constantly trains, it is there that he began to play tennis, after his mother enrolled his four-year-old son in the section and began to travel with him to various tournaments. He mainly comes to Australia only in December-January to participate in several tournaments.
However, de Minor himself considers himself more an Australian. “I’m used to playing for Spain, but I’ve always felt like an Australian. As soon as we returned to this country, I realized that I want to play for Australia “, – recalls Alex. In terms of tennis, the young talent is definitely not Spaniard. Sluggish backline flips, defensive slices and defensive tactics to wait for the opponent’s mistake? This is definitely not about him. De Minor, unlike many Spaniards, serves well, loves and knows how to play at the net, and on the back line he delivers powerful smashing blows. Unsurprisingly, herb is his favorite coating. Among the favorite tennis players is the eight-time Wimbledon champion Roger Federer, and Lleyton Hewitt was also Alex’s idol. What Australian did not root for Lleyton in childhood?
By the way, now Hewitt is a fan of de Minor. The famous Australian helped his young compatriot at the start of her career and continues to be a kind of mentor. Hewitt sat on the podium this week and supported Alex at the Brisbane tournament. Being in the rating in the third hundred, de Minor could only get to this tournament thanks to a wild card. He received it and took full advantage of its opportunities. First, he beat Steve Johnson, and then won a major career victory and defeated Milos Raonic in two sets . After this success, Alex said that in recent years he has managed to seriously improve in many aspects.
“I added in every component. Now I am in the best shape, both physically and mentally. Of course, it helps me a lot on the court. This gives me confidence that I can play against tennis players of the Raonic level and be competitive. When you go out on the court, you have to understand that you can win.
If I don’t believe I can win, then I should just stay at home. What is the point of playing if you do not believe that you can be the strongest? Of course I have my doubts. In fact, only a small part of me believed that I could pass Raonic, but that was enough for me. I enjoyed the court and gave the audience a lot of vivid emotions. I am like this, and at the moment it works, ”de Minor said.
Breakthrough in Brisbane
After the victory over Raonic and reaching his first ATP quarterfinals, Alex got a very convenient opponent for this stage of the tournament – Michael Mmo. He beat the 177th racket of the world and reached the semifinals without a single lost set. With such a game, self-confidence and support from the stands, it seemed that the task of passing Ryan Harrison seemed quite real. De Minor took the first set and at some point had perfect statistics when playing near the net: 14 exits – 14 points won. Alex had a great opportunity to reach the finals, but in the tie-break, when he had already made a mini-break thanks to an excellent reception right through, the young Australian openly squeezed. He made two unforced mistakes, and between them he made a double one. The more experienced Harrison took advantage of these gifts, and in the third set led 4: 0. All clear? Not really. Alex was not going to give up, gave out “kamon” and charged the audience with energy. He managed to win back one serve for the match, but Ryan still used his second chance and completed de Minor’s tale.
What’s next for the 18-year-old Australian? Of course, there is a possibility that this is a one-time success, but there are much more prerequisites for the tournament in Brisbane to be the first of many bright flashes in his career. Of course, now Alex has a different attitude and increased attention, but he himself believes that an experienced mentor in the person of Lleyton Hewitt will not allow him to “star”.
“Having such an advisor on the team means a lot to me. He believes in me very much and believes that I have a game that allows me to compete with the best tennis players in the world. And the first thing he told me was to believe in yourself. His tips help me to cope with difficult situations and not fall under the increased expectations of the press and fans “.
It is clear that tennis is now de Minor’s main hobby, but he also really likes golf. This sport is almost equally popular in Australia and Spain. According to Alex, if he hadn’t become a tennis player, he would have gone golf. Another hobby is football. Here, of course, Spanish roots affect. De Minor is a Real Madrid fan and in this he took an example from his mother. The de Minor family has four children, and Alex is the eldest of four children: he has a brother Daniel and sisters Sarah and Christina. It is quite possible that in a week a big family will support Alex at the Australian Open.