Tennis legend Rafael Nadal has confidently predicted a promising future for Alex de Minaur, suggesting the 24-year-old is on the brink of one day achieving grand slam success.
After a convincing 6-1, 6-2 victory against local wildcard Jason Kubler on January 4, Nadal, who is making a stellar comeback to the ATP Tour after a year-long hiatus due to injuries, shared his insights on the state of Australian tennis.
Unsurprisingly, the tennis sensation did not mince words when it came to assessing the potential of de Minaur.
Addressing the press during his post-match conference, Nadal expressed his confidence in de Minaur’s imminent ascent to the upper echelons of tennis.
“I think de Minaur is now a player who is very close to the top 10, so I don’t see him far off (a level) to fight for very important things,” Nadal said.
“He’s been improving for the last couple of years, and he’s been able to create more damage upon the opponents now than before, that’s my opinion, I think since last year.
“I don’t have the whole information here to have a real analysis of the situation, but I see Alex as the best one today. Nick is not playing, so that’s how I see it.
“I have to play a tough opponent (Thompson) who is able to serve very well and is very solid from the baseline, and he knows how to go to the net too.
“That will be an important test for me, I hope I am ready to play good tennis again. Let’s see.”
Nadal’s optimism is well-founded, especially after de Minaur’s impressive victory over Novak Djokovic, showcasing the Australian’s rising talent.
In a dazzling display of skill and determination, de Minaur has etched his name in tennis history by defeating the World No.1 Djokovic in straight sets, securing Australia’s spot in the United Cup semifinals.
De Minaur took the court with an unwavering confidence that set the tone for a thrilling showdown on Wednesday, January 3. The 24-year-old tennis sensation outpaced Djokovic from the very start, clinching a remarkable 6-4, 6-4 victory in just 93 minutes and propelling Australia to a 1-0 lead in the crucial best-of-three-match quarter-final tie.
De Minaur’s explosive speed and unparalleled agility proved to be a relentless challenge for Djokovic, who, hampered by wrist pain, struggled to find his rhythm and committed a staggering 31 unforced errors throughout the match. Even after receiving treatment following a break in the ninth game of the first set, Djokovic found no respite from the relentless onslaught orchestrated by de Minaur.
The turning point came in the seventh game of the second set when Djokovic, under pressure, succumbed to a double fault, handing de Minaur his second crucial break. Despite some nervy moments, including a double fault on three match points at 40-0 and 5-4 up, de Minaur demonstrated resilience and composure.
With a fourth match point in his grasp, de Minaur seized the opportunity, securing the historic win as Djokovic sent a backhand long. The stadium erupted in cheers as de Minaur basked in the glory of the biggest triumph of his career.
AUSTRALIA RISES AS ONE 🇦🇺
— United Cup (@UnitedCupTennis) January 3, 2024
The win marks de Minaur’s inaugural triumph against a reigning world No.1, something that wasn’t lost on the rising tennis star.
“It’s extremely special. Novak is an unbelievable competitor,” de Minaur said after shattering Djokovic’s 43-match, six-year winning streak in Australia
“It feels surreal, it feels amazing. I’m happy to do it here in Perth and Australia.”
In the wake of an extraordinary victory over Djokovic and Nadal’s unwavering endorsement, de Minaur’s promising future in tennis shines brightly, setting the stage for a potential grand slam success that seems increasingly within reach.