Tennis - Australian tennis great John Newcombe says he knew Alex de Minaur had the potential to be a top player when he saw the then 17-year-old de Minaur come from behind to beat Canadian Felix Auger-Aliassime in the quarter-finals of the 2016 Wimbledon boys singles event.
de Minaur came from a set and a break down to beat the Candian player and Newcombe recalls how he spoke to de Minaur's team and told them that the teenager had great potential. Speaking to Nine World Wide of Sports, Newcombe says, "He came back and found a way to win.
I waited for him and had a talk to him and then I spoke to the people who were in charge of development there and I said 'hey, this kid’s something special. He’s just got something' You never know what’s going to happen but, as we’ve watched him, he’s embraced the hard work, the dedication to become the best he can possibly become and he’s out there on the court and he’s enjoying himself all the time."
de Minaur and Ashleigh Barty were named as joint winners of the prestigious Newcombe Medal for 2018 in November. THe 19-year-old has climbed more than 150 spots in the ATP rankings to end the season at No. 31 and will be the top-ranked Australian going into the first Grand Slam of the season.
He reached the quarter-finals of the ATP Brisbane International event where he lost to former Australian Open finalist Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and is also through to the second round of this week's ATP Sydney International, where he scored a 6-4, 6-3 win over Dusan Lajovic in the first round on Monday and faces Reilly Opelka in the second round.