Alex de Minaur: The Ultimate Team Player
Australia’s highest-ranked player, Alex de Minaur, will have a special supporter in his corner at Laver Cup London 2022: Rod Laver. While usually an impartial observer of the event created in his honor, Rocket Rod has a special affection for his Aussie compatriot.
Like the Rocket 60 years before him, the ‘Demon’ – as Alex is known – has broken down many opponents with his incredible speed and mental toughness, displaying a fighting spirit that fueled the Rocket’s great success en route to his 11 majors.
Born in Sydney, raised in Spain, and mentored by another Aussie great, Lleyton Hewitt, de Minaur is the ultimate team player and expects to slot in easily to the Team World fold.
“It’s an amazing opportunity; it’s a place where I wanted to be,” says de Minaur.
“Competing against the best in Team Europe, I’m extremely pumped to be part of the team and play under Captain John McEnroe.
“We’ve got all the greats on the other side of the court, it’s going to be incredibly tough for us, but at the same time, we’re ready for the challenge.
“I think we’ve got a strong team. We’ve got players that can beat anyone on any given day, we’re going to definitely take it to them. It’s not going to come easy, we’re going to fight to the end and, hopefully, we can come out on top.”
How it’s going
De Minaur methodically rebuilt his ranking in 2022 after an abdominal tear at the start of 2020 altered his career trajectory.
The two-time Next Gen ATP Finals runner-up and six-time ATP Tour singles champion lit up Melbourne Park in January with three emphatic victories over lower-ranked opponents, only prevented from going further by No.10 seed Jannik Sinner.
It would take higher-ranked opponents to curtail his progress at follow-up tournaments: No.4 Stefanos Tsitsipas at the Rotterdam quarterfinals and later in the third round of the Miami Masters.
Team World teammate Taylor Fritz was de Minaur’s greatest obstacle. The in-form American ended his run in the Round of 16 at Indian Wells, and at Eastbourne, Fritz beat the reigning champion in the semis, both matches in three close sets. De Minaur was a steady and dangerous foe throughout the clay court swing, upsetting No.10 Cameron Norrie at Barcelona and pushing eventual champion Carlos Alcaraz in their semifinal, won by the Spaniard 6-7(4) 7-6(4) 6-4.
He was impressive again at the Rome Masters in the third round against No.3 Alexander Zverev and was a semifinalist at Lyon. De Minaur edged out two Englishmen in the second and third rounds at his career-best Wimbledon before losing a five-set battle to Chile’s Cristian Garin.
He bounced back the following week, claiming his sixth Tour-level singles title at Atlanta and eliminated Denis Shapovalov and Grigor Dimitrov in the early rounds of the Canada Masters.
De Minaur avenged his Wimbledon loss to Garin in the first round of the US Open before bowing out to good friend Pablo Carreno Busta with whom he won his only doubles title, the 2020 ATP Masters 1000 Cincinnati.
On playing Laver Cup
De Minaur says he would love to play anyone at Laver Cup London.
“It’s going to be extremely fun in a different format as well. It will get the juices flowing, playing in a team environment which I love, and getting around my teammates. I’ll be ready to go, ready to get fired up.
“I’m going to bring a lot of fight, a lot of competitiveness, a lot of excitement, energy – as always – I’m going to give 150% for my teammates. I’ll be ready.
“I love to play for more than just myself. It’s always a great environment to be around teammates, that we’re supporting each other. Tennis is a very individual sport for basically the whole year and we get these special events here and there to play as a team and I really cherish those moments.
“London, The O2, it doesn’t get too much bigger than that. It’s a special venue, it’s going to be a special event and hopefully there’s going to be some special tennis played there.”