SYDNEY, December 23, 2017 (Press Release)
Sydney’s Alex De Minaur has been awarded a wildcard into the Sydney International, joining Ash Barty (Qld), Daria Gavrilova (Vic) and fellow wildcard recipients Sam Stosur (Qld) and Jordan Thompson (NSW) in the main draw.
The rising Aussie star enjoyed a breakthrough season in 2017 that saw his ranking soar from world No.351 in January to a career-high of 182 in October. He reached his first ATP Challenger final in Spain in August and won his first professional title at the ITF Futures event in Portugal in July.
Runner-up in the boys’ singles at Wimbledon in 2016, De Minaur impressed during the last Australian summer. He qualified for the Brisbane International, scored his maiden ATP Tour match victory at the Sydney International, and saved a match point en route to recording his first Grand Slam match win at the Australian Open.
The 18-year-old said he was delighted to be starting his 2018 season in his home town.
“Playing in front of Australian fans is exciting, but playing in front of your home crowd takes that excitement to the next level,” De Minaur said.
“I have great memories of playing in front of the Sydney crowd last year. They really got behind me and helped carry me through the first professional win of my career.”
De Minaur booked his place at the opening Grand Slam of the season with a gripping 6-2 6-4 6-7(1) 6-1 win over Alex Bolt in the final of the Australian Open Play-off earlier this month.
He said that victory would boost his confidence at Sydney Olympic Park Tennis Centre in January.
“Winning the Australian Open Play-off last week was a big one for me,” De Minaur said.
“I couldn’t be happier with where my game’s at right now and I’m working hard to prepare for the start of the season. I’m looking forward to seeing how far I can take it in 2018.”
Fellow New South Welshman Thompson claimed some of the biggest scalps of his career in 2017, beating David Ferrer in Brisbane, Feliciano Lopez in Mexico, and Andy Murray in the first round at Queen’s. The 23-year-old achieved a career high ranking of No.63 in February.
Tennis NSW CEO and Sydney International Tournament Director Lawrence Robertson said he’s looking forward to seeing De Minaur and Thompson take on some of the ATP Tour’s big hitters in Sydney this summer.
“Alex is a true rising star of the game and the fans here just love his aggressive brand of tennis, and Jordan is another local boy who has had some big wins playing on home soil in Australia,” Robertson said.
“We will have some seasoned players competing for the title here, the likes of Kei Nishikori, Fernando Verdasco and Feliciano Lopez. I know Alex and Jordan will be keen to make most of their wildcards to play some quality tennis, and perhaps get an upset or two under their belts, before the Australian Open.”
Initiatives for Sydney International 2018 include:
· Free entry for kids under-14 with any paying adult for all sessions (excluding finals night)
· First-ever blockbuster Saturday night finals for both the men and women, providing a star-studded line-up for fans and a showcase of international tennis
· $30 Three-Day Flexi Pass – a three-day ticket that enables fans to attend any three day sessions for just $30. The Flexi Pass can be shared with friends and family.