Against second-round opponent Henri Laaksonen, a man considerably bigger and stronger than him, De Minaur played a match of skill, intelligence and patience – biding his time in rallies and regularly chipping tough balls back into play, waiting for his opponent to make a mistake.
Ironically, it was the 26-year-old Finnish born Swiss who looked like an inexperienced amateur on occasions – unable to deal with De Minaur consistently getting the ball back and into tough places – going for impetuous winners on regular occasions that sailed well long or wide of the lines.
Laaksonen hit 88 unforced errors for the match, 32 more than the Aussie 19-year-old.
Although his total winners stat was nothing to write home about (26, compared to his opponent’s 65) De Minaur himself was not without the ability to hurry up the Swiss.
During rallies of attrition, he would regularly up the pace on a forehand, forcing Laaksonen into hitting a ball back short, and putting him on the back foot.
Surely, if De Minaur is to survive against the bigger and more imposing men in the draw today, he will have to further develop the offensive side of his game.
It seems that the big four era has left a slew of disgruntled and disillusioned young players, well aware of the fact that even if they give everything they have, they may still not get close to winning a slam.
Bernard Tomic has spoken about this, and Nick Kyrgios and Jack Sock’s conduct suggests as much.
At least at this stage, Alex De Minaur just likes to compete. With his lack of size, winning a Grand Slam seems unlikely in an era where Federer, Nadal and Djokovic still dominate.
He is only 19, however, and if he can keep improving, in around five years time he could do what his mentor Lleyton Hewitt was able to – wait for a relative lull in the men’s game (and for the greats of his era to retire) and take a slam or two from his less mature, disciplined and hungry contemporaries.
As Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic vie for their name to be etched in history as the greatest tennis player of all time, there can be no doubt that these three are the leading pioneers of the sport and possibly may end their careers as the three greatest players ever.
Novak Djokovic has accused critics of subjecting him to a “witch hunt” after his regional Adria Tour tennis event ended in a coronavirus fiasco and said he was still uncertain whether he would play at the August 31-September 13 US Open.
Tennis player Alexander Zverev has been slammed by Nick Kyrgios after footage emerged of him partying after he promised to self isolate for 14 days after competing at a recent tennis event organised by Novak Djokovic which was plagued by positive COVID-19 tests.