n tennis whizz-kid Alex De Minaur plans to “leave it all out there” when he takes on multiple grand slam semi-finalist Tomas Berdych in the first round of the n Open on Tuesday.
De Minaur lost the Sydney International final to Russia’s Daniil Medvedev on Saturday night and arrived in Melbourne overnight Saturday-Sunday. That came after the world no.210 made the semi-final of the Brisbane International.
On his Sydney and Brisbane runs De Minaur, 18, beat highly fancied opponents Benoit Paire, Fernando Verdasco, Milos Raonic and Feliciano Lopez, shooting him to the status of n tennis’ latest up-and-coming star.
Speaking on Sunday De Minaur said he was still getting used to seeing his name splashed all over newspapers and media following his charge to a maiden ATP final in Sydney.
“It’s the same old me. Nothing’s going to change. I’m still going to get out there on court and leave it all out there, give it my best,” De Minaur said.
“I just want to have a good match against Berdych. I want to leave it all out there, compete every point, give myself the best opportunity I can to play well. I think that’s the only thing I can ask from myself. It’s just going to be another match. It’s going to be fun. I can’t wait.”
He said he had enjoyed the vocal home support in Sydney and Brisbane and was waiting on similar backing at Melbourne Park.
“I think I soak up all the energy from the crowd,” De Minaur said. “It’s great to have such an unbelievable crowd behind you. I really cherish the moment and am thankful for all the supporters that come out there. It’s just unbelievable to play in front of such an amazing crowd.”
De Minaur said he would continue to draw on the support of Lleyton Hewitt who has mentored the Spanish-based scrapper throughout his career.
“He [Hewitt] has actually been through every single type of scenario you can think of on a court. So I just listen to what he has to say, you know, try to do it on court,” he said.
He said he was unsure if expectations on him had become higher given his recent success.
“I just go out there on court. It’s just another tennis match. It’s another day, another opportunity to get better. I’m just going day by day.”
The 2018 n Open will be De Minaur’s second after he made the second round in 2017. He also played in the 2017 French and US Open, losing in the first round at both.
Berdych, 32, has slipped to no.20 in the world, his lowest ranking since 2009. He has been as high as world no.4, most recently at the end of 2015. He is the no.19 seed in the 2018 n Open.