On July 30, 2001, the Australians had four players in the Top 50 for the very last time, led by world number 5 Lleyton Hewitt and world number 9 Patrick Rafter. Hewitt was the most promising youngster at that point but he couldn't achieve more in his career, winning the second and the last Grand Slam crown at Wimbledon 2002, the very last for the Aussies on the men's Tour so far.
Now, more than 17 years later, four players from one of the greatest tennis nations have been ranked in the Top 50 again, with Nick Kyrgios, John Millman, Alex de Minaur and Matthew Ebden finding their place in the elite group.
None of them is ranked inside the Top 25, though, with Nick Kyrgios playing just 34 matches so far in 2018 after struggling with right elbow and hip injuries that forced him to skip many tournaments and prevent him from showing his best tennis in those events that he entered.
Nick had opened the season with a title in Brisbane, losing in the fourth round of the Australian Open to Grigor Dimitrov before playing just two tournaments until the grass season. There, he lost two tight semi-final matches in Stuttgart and Queen's to Roger Federer and Marin Cilic and his most recent defeat came against Federer in the third round of the US Open.
In the past few weeks, Nick was on the worst ranking position in two and a half years and he will try to bounce back in the next months and finish the season in the Top 20 where he certainly belongs when he is at his best.
The 29-year-old John Millman is on a career-high ranking after a brilliant run at the US Open that brought him the win over Roger Federer before Novak Djokovic halted him in the quarter-final. In August 2017, John was ranked outside the Top 200, missing all the action until the end of May due to a torn tendon in the groin that required a surgery.
He managed to overcome all the difficulties and enter the Top 40 for the first time in his career, seeking more good results in the rest of the season. The 19-year-old Alex de Minaur is ranked just behind Millman and he is one of the most promising teens in the world, winning 18 ATP matches so far in 2018.
De Minaur played in the finals of Sydney and Washington and he reached the third round at Wimbledon and the US Open, losing in a thriller against Marin Cilic after four hours. Alex has to defend just 30 points by the end of the season and he can only go upwards through the list in the remaining events of the year.
The 30-year-old Matthew Ebden is another player who struggled with injuries in the past but it is all behind him now, playing a steady season to settle into the Top 50. Matthew had a great grass season, scoring seven ATP wins and losing in the final of Surbiton Challenger to de Minaur.
He also reached the semi-final in Atlanta, taking a set away from John Isner, followed by one win at the US Open as well. They are currently the best that Australia has to offer in men's tennis, with Jason Kubler, Jordan Thompson and Bernard Tomic completing the Top 150 list.