Can Alex de Minaur Break the Aussie Drought? Novak Djokovic Weighs In

Novak Djokovic experienced his first loss of the season against Alex de Minaur

by Jovica Ilic
Can Alex de Minaur Break the Aussie Drought? Novak Djokovic Weighs In
© Paul Kane / Stringer - Getty Images Sport

The Australians have been waiting for the men's Australian Open title since 1976! Alex de Minaur will try to break the spell in the next two weeks following a rock-solid season opening and a place in the top-10. Alex earned three top-10 wins at the United Cup, hoping for more at home Major after ending his campaign in the fourth round in the previous two years.

Novak Djokovic was not surprised to see this level of tennis from Alex, calling him one of the quickest players on the Tour and praising his recent performances. The Serb is aware of expectations on de Minaur's shoulders in front of the home fans, saying he can do the damage in the draw while repeating it's always challenging to make predictions.

De Minaur delivered Djokovic's first loss of the season at the United Cup, beating world no. 1 6-4, 6-4 in an hour and 33 minutes. Novak struggled with the right wrist injury, returning poorly and failing to make an impact with his serve and forehand.

On the other hand, the home favorite did everything right, playing aggressive tennis and never facing a break point. Alex broke Novak once in each set to control the pace and propel Australia over the top.

Novak Djokovic lost to Alex de Minaur in straight sets at the United Cup.

Djokovic stayed in touch in the first half of the opening set before experiencing issues at 3-3.

The Serb squandered a 40-15 lead and faced two break points, defending them with winners and landing an ace for 4-3. The Aussie prepared another assault at 4-4, creating three break points and seizing the second to move in front.

Alex served for the opener in game ten and held at 15 to gain a boost. Novak reached 3-3 in the second set, still powerless on the return. The Serb wasted a 40-15 advantage in the seventh game and played a tired backhand to give the Aussie a break chance.

Djokovic ended the game with a double fault, finding himself 5-3 down after de Minaur's hold at love. Alex served for the victory at 5-4 and fired a forehand winner for three match points. Suddenly, Novak denied them and reached his first deuce on the return.

The home player kept his focused and seized the fourth, beating world no. 1 for the first time in a career.

Alex de Minaur, United Cup 2024© Paul Kane / Stringer - Getty Images Sport

"Alex beat Fritz, Zverev and me, breaking into the top-10.

His level did not surprise me. He is probably the quickest player in the game, with all-around tennis and good defense and offense. Nick Kyrgios is not in the draw, and expectations from Alex are high. He can go deep, although it's never easy to make predictions," Novak Djokovic said.

Alex De Minaur Novak Djokovic