Alexei Popyrin: The Aussie summer was a dream, especially the Aussie Open

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Alexei Popyrin: The Aussie summer was a dream, especially the Aussie Open

Rising Australian star Alexei Popyrin enjoyed playing in front of his home fans in the opening month of the season. Tennis Australia handed 2017 French Open boys' singles title champion Popyrin wildcards into Brisbane, Sydney and the Australian Open.

The 19-year-old made his debut at the Brisbane event, where he lost in the first round to fellow compatriot and rising star Alex de Minaur. The Australian then made his second consecutive appearance in Sydney, where he fell just short of clinching his first win at the tournament as six-time ATP champion Klizan claimed a tight 7-6 (4) 4-6 7-6 (5) first round win.

Despite failing to win a match in Brisbane or Sydney, world No 120 Popyrin stayed positives he made the third round in his Australian Open debut. The 19-year-old beat German Mischa Zverev in the first round and had 2018 French Open runner-up Dominic Thiem retire him their second round match before he was edged out by eventual semi-finalist Lucas Pouille in a tight five-set third round clash.

Popyrin also made the Australian Open doubles round-of-16 alongside fellow compatriot Blake Ellis. Popyrin then received a call for the Davis Cup qualifying round tie against Bosnia Herzegovina. The Australian enjoyed a fine Davis Cup debut as he contributed in the home win by beating Nerman Fatic.

"The Aussie summer was a dream, especially the AO. Going in, I never expected to play the way I did in both singles and doubles," Popyrin told Australian Tennis Magazine, as revealed by Tennis Australia. "I think it showed that I'm able to compete on the big stage and also gave me a great deal of confidence."

Popyrin is now set for a Monte Carlo Masters debut campaign as he is motivated to keep working hard. "I just want to keep improving and working on my game as hard and as much as I possibly can. And if I continue to do so I feel like I can really have a ranking boost," Popyrin said.