Alex de Minaur was literally swept away by Novak Djokovic in the round of 16 of the 2023 Australian Open. The former world number 1 played his best game of the season by liquidating the local darling in just over two hours on the Rod Laver Arena.
The Serbian phenomenon seemed to be in a crescendo of condition compared to the first three outings in Melbourne, in which the state of his left knee had raised more than a few doubts. He therefore continues the hunt for Nole for his tenth 'Down Under' title, which would allow him to match Rafael Nadal at 22 Grand Slams.
The 35-year-old from Belgrade is intent on taking revenge after the events of last year, when he was expelled from the country due to his vaccination status. 'Djoker' will face Russia's Andrey Rublev on Wednesday for a place in the semi-finals.
The latter somewhat surprisingly defeated Holger Rune in one of the most spectacular matches of this edition of the AO. Rublev made use of his experience in the decisive super-tiebreak, while Rune melted one step away from the finish line.
De Minaur praises Djokovic
Being the victim of a tennis hurricane should never be a tasteful dish, especially when you are in front of your audience and there were reasons to dream of a miracle. Álex de Miñaur has experienced the bitter feeling of being swept off the track by Novak Djokovic in these round of 16 of the Australian Open 2023.
"Honestly, I don't think I've played against anyone who had that level of tennis. What I've experienced I have a feeling must be Novak's highest level, or at least I hope so. If he continues this game, I'm clear that will take the title", commented the Australian before delving into his feeling of impotence.
"He put constant pressure on me, I couldn't get into the game for a single moment and I couldn't even get a free point on my serve. It's amazing how he's moved around the court and how deep he can play on all his shots. He made impossible for me to execute my game plan, which was to be aggressive and take time away from him.
It was like he could make me winners from anywhere on the court, there were times when I didn't know what I was doing on the court," reflects Alex. In Australia there was great expectation to see this game since doubts about the physical condition of the Serb only increased in his duel against Dimitrov.
However, Novak did not show any signs of discomfort. Questioned about this, De Miñaur was laconic. "I don't know, tell me if you thought he was injured. I certainly, being on the other side of the track, gave me the feeling that he moved perfectly.
We've been talking about his left leg for two weeks, but either I'm not good enough tennis player, or is he perfect after having seen what happened today", he sentenced.