MELBOURNE, January 16, 2017
Australian youngster Alex de Minaur was one of the stories of the first day at the 2017 Australian Open in Melbourne. The 17-year-old from Sydney celebrated a successful Grand Slam debut, winning his opening match 5-7, 6-3, 2-6, 7-6, 6-1 against Austria’s Gerald Melzer in three hours and 42 minutes on Show Court Three.
Inspired by Australia’s Davis Cup captain and living legend Lleyton Hewitt, the World No. 301, who watched from the stands, de Minaur sent down 12 aces and won 68 per cent of his first service points to set a second round clash with 31st seed Sam Querrey from the United States.
“Words can’t describe how I’m feeling right now. Definitely the happiest moment of my life,” the teenager told afterwards. Only in November last year, de Minaur could gain his first match win in a main draw at ATP Challenger level, when he defeated Kenny de Schepper in the opening round of the tournament in Eckental, where he eventually finished runner-up to Steve Darcis.
“I was struggling a fair bit. At the start of the fifth, I was also feeling it. But I thought it was really important to just push through and finally get the win,” de Minaur said. The local hero also benefited from the support of the specators.
“The Fanatics were unbelievable. I never felt such an unbelievable experience with a crowd. They were loud the whole match. I’m pretty sure they got me through that match.”
It was also a special feeling that Hewitt was attending the match.
“It’s unbelievable to have him in my corner there. Unbelievable support. He’s been really helping me out a lot,” de Minaur explained and added: “Obviously I watched a lot of his matches. That’s something I admire from him. I was really happy that I could do that today. Coming with my first five-set win. I wouldn’t have rather done it anywhere else.”
De Minaur’s idol, however, is a different person. “The players I used to always look up to is Roger Federer. Roger is just unbelievable how he plays, how he goes on about his stuff. And definitely Lleyton. Those two were definitely sort of my idols, the guys I looked up for when I was starting to play tennis,” he told and said that he hasn’t met him yet. Depending on his results, the time will probably come.
Post Match Press Conference Alex De Minaur