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Positive Demon ready to mix it with elite

3 minute read

Alex de Minaur says he's ready to tackle the world's best with renewed confidence after a breakthrough run at the French Open.

ALEX DE MINAUR.
ALEX DE MINAUR. Picture: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Disappointed and weary after his Roland Garros exit, Alex de Minaur insists his French Open adventure has persuaded him he really can mix it with the tennis elite.

His German conqueror Alexander Zverev felt the ever-improving Australian No.1 could be battling for the title of ATP Finals champion come the end of his breakthrough 2024 season.

Wednesday's straight-sets defeat to world No.4 Zverev left de Minaur frustrated at not grabbing set point or taking advantage of a 4-0 tiebreak lead in the second stanza that would have changed the complexion of their quarter-final.

But he was making no excuses, explaining that Zverev's excellence on the big points made all the difference in the Sydneysider's 6-4 7-6 (7-5) 6-4 loss.

"Lots to learn from. These are the matches I want to be playing," said de Minaur, who will be back up to his joint-career high of No.9 in the world rankings next week.

"100 per cent I can take away a lot from the two weeks (in Paris). I'm extremely proud of my efforts.

"It shows the development and jump I've made as a player to be able to come out here and make quarters on my least-favourite surface, showing I'm ready to take it to whoever and I'm going to give it my best against whoever.

"Sure, I had some good highlights (but) highlights don't win you matches. I would rather be boring and win the match.

"But I'm still happy with the way I showed up."

Zverev saw enough in the battle on Court Philippe Chatrier to believe de Minaur, the first Australian men's quarter-finalist in Paris for two decades, will also be one of the eight players who lines up at the end-of-season ATP Finals in Turin in November.

"He's always done that," the Olympic champion said, referring to de Minaur showing a big heart.

"That hasn't changed (but) there's other areas he's improved in. His serve has improved tremendously, his second serve especially.

"But (he's) a great player, who's improved a lot. He's a top contender for Turin this year."

De Minaur currently lies seventh in the 'race to Turin', behind leader and new world No.1 Jannik Sinner, along with Zverev, Daniil Medvedev, Casper Ruud, Carlos Alcaraz and Stefanos Tsitsipas. Andrey Rublev is eighth.

Novak Djokovic is 10th and, following reported surgery to his knee injury, is in danger of missing out on the end-of-season championship that he currently holds and has won a record seven times.

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