Join the Alex de Minaur fan base, it’s tremendous value

David Lord Columnist

By David Lord, David Lord is a Roar Expert

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    When Daniil Medvedev accepted the applause from the Ken Rosewall Arena last night for winning the Sydney International final, the Russian pointed to where little Aussie Alex de Minaur was seated and clapped his racquet.

    It was a meaningful small gesture of respect but huge recognition of how Medvedev rated the 18-year-old de Minaur’s future.

    And tennis fans around Australia should join the fast-growing de Minaur fan base. He’s an excitement machine.

    There’s not even a remote hint of the Nick Kyrgios or Bernard Tomic crap tantrums. Here’s a teenager who loves what he’s doing and has sensational talent, and he effortlessly passes all that onto those packing the stands.

    He’s come from being ranked 1574 in 2015 when he turned pro to 349 in 2016, 208 last year and started this year ranked 167. After his giant-killings of the past fortnight he’ll be ranked around 120 in the world tomorrow.

    There’s nothing of him, yet he’s constantly taken on far bigger and far more experienced opponents and winning.

    De Minaur reached his first ATP semi-final in Brisbane, beating Milos Raonic and Steve Johnson on the way.

    De Minaur’s 180 centimetres tall and weighs 69 kilograms dripping wet, and he has career winnings of just $257,312.

    Canadian Raonic, ranked 23, towered over him at 196 centimetres and has banked $15.8 million, but de Minaur beat him 6-4 6-4.

    American Johnson, ranked 44, stands 188 centimetres and has banked $4.2 million, but de Minaur beat him 7-5 6-4.

    (Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images)

    Spaniard Fernando Verdasco, ranked 40, stands 188 centimetres and has earned $14.5 million, but de Minaur beat him 6-4 6-2 in Sydney.

    Another Spaniard, Feliciano Lopez, suffered the same fate of 6-4 6-4 despite being ranked 36 in the world and having banking $14.7 million.

    Last night, with the legend Ken Rosewall in attendance, de Minaur and 21-year-old Medvedev turned on a two-hour and 13-minute final that was right off the shelf.

    But the same physical differences were obvious: de Minaur is 180 centimetres, Medvedev is 198 centimetres. How the little Aussie keeps giving away so much height but sticks in there says volumes about his courage and determination. Obviously it will be an ongoing problem that de Minaur will just have to tough out. And he will.

    Last night he won the first set 6-1, but Medvedev got his act into gear and used his physical advantages to take the second set 6-4.

    Right out of left field Medvedev jumped to a 4-0 lead in the decider, and even the commentators wrote de Minaur off. But they didn’t know Alex de Minaur, who fought back to level at 5-5. Medvedev lifted a couple of cogs to win 7-5 to claim his first ATP title.

    Talking titles, de Minaur was the Australian under-14 and under-16 champion. He still looks under 14, which makes you blink when he rifles stinging forehands and backhands down the line or cross-court.

    Two tournaments don’t make a career, but Alex de Minaur is an exciting prospect for all the right reasons, especially with Davis Cup captain Lleyton Hewitt the man on the spot.

    Next up on Tuesday in the first round of the Australian Open will be quality Czech Tomas Berdych, who beat Roger Federer in the 2010 Wimbledon quarters and Novak Djokovic in the semis before losing to Rafael Nadal in the final.

    Berdych is now ranked 20th in the world, has reached the semis in the other three Grand Slams and has banked $28.2 million. What’s more is he stands 196 centimetres – same old, same old.

    But he’ll know he’s been playing Alex de Minaur.

    David Lord
    David Lord

    David Lord was deeply involved in two of the biggest sporting stories - World Series Cricket in 1977 and professional rugby in 1983. After managing Jeff Thomson and Viv Richards during WSC, in 1983 David signed 208 of the best rugby players from Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales and France to play an international pro circuit. The concept didn't get off the ground, but it did force the IRB to get cracking and bring in the World Rugby Cup, now one of the world's great sporting spectacles

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    The Crowd Says (12)

    • January 14th 2018 @ 8:18am
      Mick_Lions said | January 14th 2018 @ 8:18am | ! Report

      Already on the Alex bandwagon.
      Watched him beat Raonic in Brisbane and haven’t missed a match since.
      He’s fast, can play the whole court and has a never say die attitude. His first serve needs some muscle and he was a bit too one dimensional last night but if he continues to improve he may well go all the way.
      Berdych better do his homework or he’ll just be another speed bump for this kid.

    • January 14th 2018 @ 8:40am
      Michaelj said | January 14th 2018 @ 8:40am | ! Report

      A gushing resume for De Minaur but the jury is still out for me. After winning the first set 6-1 he should have killed off his opponent. Lleyton Hewitt at 18 and nearly identical stature would have done do.
      Medvedev is not a highly credentialled player. He’s been bumbling around the circuit for a while ranked in the high 60s or low 70s and had to qualify for this tournament. De Minaur had beaten better players than him recently, but this was a final. He needed his best at the pointy end and didn’t deliver this time. I want to see better execution before I join the fan club.

      • January 14th 2018 @ 10:35am
        James Jackson said | January 14th 2018 @ 10:35am | ! Report

        Hewitt was playing in a different time in terms of ‘size matters’, and so what? You’re essentially saying a two-time slam winner and all-time Australian great may have done better than this young man. Not really a very helpful observation.

        • January 14th 2018 @ 12:10pm
          Michaelj said | January 14th 2018 @ 12:10pm | ! Report

          I admit to playing the devil’s advocate just to turn down the temperature a bit. I hope the kid becomes number one eventually.

        • January 14th 2018 @ 6:25pm
          Christo the Daddyo said | January 14th 2018 @ 6:25pm | ! Report

          It’s always helpful to provide balance and context.

          Nothing wrong with asking for a bit of restraint before we anoint this kid to being anything other than a steady improver.

    • January 14th 2018 @ 1:29pm
      Gloria Overington said | January 14th 2018 @ 1:29pm | ! Report

      What an amazing young man -at last we have a refreshing up and coming tennis player willing to give his utmost – he has the world at his feet – trust he will get the success he so deserves

    • January 14th 2018 @ 2:20pm
      Jim McDonald said | January 14th 2018 @ 2:20pm | ! Report

      Size? About the same size as Laver, the best ever.

    • January 15th 2018 @ 12:23pm
      Brainstrust said | January 15th 2018 @ 12:23pm | ! Report

      Are you jumping in a bit early, and I am not talking about tennis potential.
      This is the honeymoon period when a tennis player is young, and their reputation is untarnished.
      I can remember when Kyrgios was the feel good story compared to Tomic.
      While I don’t see any signs that he will have any negative qualities like Hewitt had with rage let alone become public enemy no 1 like Kyrgios and Tomic have at points. Is he going to be a feel good player with a great character like Rafter and be still making plenty of money from endorsements from selling undies year after his career is over not feeling that either. Does he have a crazy father like Dokic and Tomic we don’t know at this point.

    • January 16th 2018 @ 9:35pm
      Virginia said | January 16th 2018 @ 9:35pm | ! Report

      Alex is a wonderful ambassador fir Australian tennis!
      He has a big future ahead if him and is such a crowd pleaser with his determination and humility!
      Keep it up young man, you give so many people so much.
      You are bound to be a rising star!
      Hope you are picked for Davis Cup!!!

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