In an interview to ESPN, Alex De Minaur reflected on playing Rafael Nadal in the Wimbledon third round last year. The Spaniard prevailed in straight sets, 6-1, 6-2, 6-4, but De Minaur could still learn a lot from that match.
Speaking ahead of the Australian Open, the local hero said: 'Playing Rafa on centre court, that's a very new experience for me. I felt like it was one of those things that you just learn from for a while, so the next time you step out on court with him you know what to expect and you can go out there and just play looser.'
De Minaur also enjoyed other amazing experiences in Grand Slams including his loss to Marin Cilic in five sets at the US Open. 'And I definitely felt that when I played Cilic later in the year at the US Open, I felt that I was really close but it just didn't go my way,' De Minaur continued. 'But hopefully next year  I can start closing out some of those close matches against higher opponents.'
The 19-year-old can count on Lleyton Hewitt's support. The former world no. 1 was on De Minaur's bench when Alex faced Dusan Lajovic on Monday at the Sydney International. Reflecting on Hewitt's 2005 Australian Open run, that ended to Marat Safin in the final, De Minaur concluded: 'Well that's one of the many matches [2005 Open], the many tournaments, I watched of him, just sitting on the sofa back at him.
I would watch his matches and then go out to the garage wall and hit balls against the wall, and try to replicate his technique and his fighting attitude.' ALSO READ: Rafael Nadal: Worse players than David Ferrer won a Grand Slam title