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The Demon Uncovered: Alex de Minaur On Why 'Every Day Counts'

  • Posted: Jul 01, 2020

The Demon Uncovered: Alex de Minaur On Why ‘Every Day Counts’

ATP Uncovered presented by Peugeot goes inside the mind of De Minaur

#NextGenATP star Alex de Minaur is nicknamed ‘Demon’. His physical attributes — blinding speed and relentless groundstrokes — certainly make him a demon to play against. But it’s the 21-year-old’s attitude that sets him apart.

“Every day counts. You don’t realise that at such a young age, but as soon as you start maturing a bit and you have a couple more years of experience, you realise that if you want to be at the top and you want to play against these top guys, you’ve just got to constantly improve,” De Minaur said. “You can’t be satisfied with your level and where you’re at. You’ve always got to want to push for more and strive for higher: higher rankings, higher-level matches and hopefully beat higher-ranked opponents as well.”

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De Minaur took his first tennis lesson aged four in Sydney. At five, his family moved to Spain for the next eight years. They returned to Australia for three years after that before going back to Spain once more. That was mostly because of his parents’ business. But De Minaur, who learned a lot from experiencing both cultures, enjoyed tennis through it all.

“I reckon as soon as I competed for the first time when I was eight years old [I] wanted to be a tennis player. I enjoyed it so much and since then I’ve just tried to play as much tennis as I could and improve as much as I could,” De Minaur said. “I’m fortunate enough to be in the situation that I am playing with all these guys who I grew up watching.

“Any time there was a Roger-Rafa final at a Grand Slam event, those were probably the matches I would watch on repeat, nonstop. Those are the matches that gave me the hunger and drive to achieve my dreams as a tennis player and to try and keep improving to hopefully one day be in that situation.”

De Minaur, a two-time Next Gen ATP Finals competitor, won his first three ATP Tour titles last year. He has overcome adversity, too. The Aussie dealt with a groin injury in the first half of 2019 and an abdominal tear earlier this season.

“There are always ups and downs in the journey. There are always bumps. But you just have to keep pushing through,” De Minaur said. “It’s not always going to go your way. But if you have the right mentality and you look at things in a positive manner, sort of putting yourself in the right direction, that’s the most important thing.”

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Remaining close to his roots has helped De Minaur. He loves returning home to spend time with family when his schedule allows, and he has worked with the same coach, Adolfo Gutierrez, for the past decade. The World No. 26 believes Gutierrez helps keep him grounded and focussed on the “important things”, including enjoying the work he puts in.

“We’ve grown up together. He’s watched me grow as a tennis player and as a person. It’s amazing to see the things we’ve been able to accomplish together,” De Minaur said. “He’s a constant reminder of where I came from and the struggles that have occurred for me to be where I am right now.”

De Minaur isn’t the loudest person off the court; he lets his actions and competitiveness speak for him. And as he continues his ascent, the Aussie will continue to leave everything he has out there.

“I would love to be known as that guy who is funny, nice and really chilled out off the court,” De Minaur said. “But as soon as I step out on court to be that guy who will never give up, will fight until the end and if you really want to beat him, you’re going to have to put me down.

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Flashback: Kyrgios Uses All Nine Lives To Secure Gasquet Victory

  • Posted: Jul 01, 2020

Flashback: Kyrgios Uses All Nine Lives To Secure Gasquet Victory

Aussie reached Wimbledon quarter-finals on his tournament debut

After winning eight consecutive matches from qualifying to collect his third ATP Challenger Tour title of the year in Nottingham, Nick Kyrgios walked through the gates of the All England Club for the first time in 2014 with plenty of confidence.

The 19-year-old wild card picked up his first Wimbledon victory against Stephane Robert in four sets to book a second-round clash with World No. 14 Richard Gasquet. It was in that match, on No. 2 Court, that Kyrgios claimed his maiden Top 50 victory in dramatic fashion.

Gasquet, a semi-finalist at SW19 in 2007, also entered the contest in impressive form. In the previous week, the Frenchman finished as a runner-up in Eastbourne. To reach the second round at Wimbledon, Gasquet had to recover from two-sets-to-one down against James Duckworth.

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After dropping the opening two sets, Kyrgios saved four match points with powerful serving and bravery on his forehand side to frustrate his opponent. When facing his fifth match point, the Australian appeared to have lost the match after serving a double fault. Fortunately for Kyrgios, his Hawk-Eye challenge proved his daring second serve had clipped the back of the line.

”Obviously the challenge kept me in it,” said Kyrgios. ”The serve was in. It was a bit unlucky to be called out.”

After saving a total of nine match points, Kyrgios fought his way to a 3-6, 6-7(4), 6-4, 7-5, 10-8 triumph after three hours and 53 minutes. The World No. 144 completed the upset with a love service hold, firing his 21st ace of the match to reach the third round at a Grand Slam for the first time.

“I played some unbelievable tennis today… I think it’s a massive stepping stone for me to finally reach the third round of a Grand Slam. It can be a bridge for more things to come,” said Kyrgios.

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Following his win against Gasquet, Kyrgios continued to prove his talent to his growing fanbase at the grass-court Grand Slam championship. The Canberra native recovered from a set down to beat Jiri Vesely in the third round, before stunning two-time champion Rafael Nadal in four sets to book his place in the quarter-finals. At that stage, the Aussie was beaten by World No. 9 Milos Raonic in a fourth-set tie-break.

One year later, Gasquet gained his revenge against Kyrgios at Wimbledon. The pair met in the Round of 16, with Gasquet claiming a 7-5, 6-1, 6-7(7), 7-6(6) win. The Frenchman went on to reach his second Wimbledon semi-final, where he fell to eventual champion Novak Djokovic.

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Flashback: Brown Upsets Nadal On Centre Court Debut

  • Posted: Jul 01, 2020

Flashback: Brown Upsets Nadal On Centre Court Debut

German claimed four-set victory against two-time champion

When Dustin Brown stepped onto Centre Court for the first time in 2015, the German was aiming to record his second victory against a former champion at the event in three years.

Two years after beating 2002 winner Lleyton Hewitt in the second round, Brown met two-time champion Rafael Nadal at the same stage. Brown entered the contest with confidence, having beaten Nadal on grass in their only previous ATP Head2Head meeting at the 2014 NOVENTI OPEN. But if the World No. 102 wanted to repeat that victory, he would have to maintain his best level for longer than his 60-minute win in Halle.

For the first time in his career, Nadal arrived at Wimbledon in 2015 after appearances at two grass-court tournaments. Taking advantage of the newly-extended grass-court season, the Spaniard clinched his fourth title on the surface in Stuttgart before a first-round defeat to Alexandr Dolgopolov at The Queen’s Club.

That Stuttgart success and an extra week to adjust to the surface gave fans a reason to believe that 2015 could be the year that Nadal reversed his fortunes at SW19. After reaching the final in five straight Wimbledon appearances from 2006 to 2011, Nadal suffered early losses to players ranked outside the Top 100 in three straight visits to the All England Club from 2012 to 2014.

After splitting the opening two sets on Centre Court, Brown fully committed to his brand of attacking tennis to complete a stunning victory. The 6’5” right-hander enjoyed success with his serve-and-volley tactics and attacked Nadal’s second serve to keep points short and disrupt the Spaniard’s rhythm. After two hours and 33 minutes, Brown fired his 11th ace of the match to confirm his spot in the third round.

“I’m happy I got to play him on that court win or lose,” said Brown. “All the kids that play tennis dream about being able to play on that Centre Court. Playing against him there is special.”

With his second victory in as many matches against Nadal, Brown became only the second player after Alex Corretja to hold a 100 per cent record against the left-hander after two ATP Head2Head matches.

“Obviously he’s one of the best players of the sport, and for me, being able to play against him twice, obviously on my favourite surface, is probably my luck,” said Brown.

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Nadal’s loss to Brown marked the end of a disappointing four-year streak at the grass-court Grand Slam championship. Since that defeat, the 19-time Grand Slam champion has claimed 13 wins from 16 matches at SW19, with his only losses coming against Gilles Muller, — in a dramatic 15-13 fifth set — Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer.

“On this court especially, you meet players that don’t want to play from the baseline sometimes. [Brown] is one of these ones,” said Nadal.

Following his milestone victory against Nadal, Brown struggled to replicate his form in the next round. Backed by an enthusiastic crowd on No. 3 Court, the German was broken on four occasions during a four-set loss to Viktor Troicki.

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