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Brits claim de Minaur as one of their own at Wimbledon

3 minute read

Alex de Minaur will have plenty of backing when he takes on Novak Djokovic in the Wimbledon quarter-final with the locals claiming him as an honorary Brit.

ALEX DE MINAUR.
ALEX DE MINAUR. Picture: Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

With all of their own players long since knocked out of Wimbledon the Brits are trying to claim Alex de Minaur as an honorary 'Pom', and the Australian No.1 is very happy to go along with it.

De Minaur's long-standing relationship with British women's No.1 Katie Boulter has led the locals to argue he is 'half-British' as they seek a hometown hero at their own grand slam.

A reporter from the tabloid Sun, still the biggest selling newspaper in Britain, asked the Sydneysider as he discussed the crowd following his fourth round win over Arthur Fils, "What the crowd really wants is a Brit to be in the draw. You're virtually half-British anyway with your girlfriend. Is there any chance we could borrow you, fly the flag for us?"

De Minaur, who now faces the daunting quarter-final challenge of Novak Djokovic on the Centre Court grass the Serb has made his own, responded,  "a hundred per cent. I'll take all the support I can get. I can be the honorary Brit here at Wimbledon. 

"I do feel very loved out there, I must say," added de Minaur. "I always love coming here to Wimbledon and playing here. I always feel like I play some of my best tennis. Over the years I feel like the support I've had has grown significantly.

"It's a great feeling as a player to know you've got a lot of people in that stadium backing you in, having your back when essentially you're so far away from home."

Asked if he "actually feels a bit British then?" de Minaur answered with a smile, "Yeah, definitely. Over the years I've learnt a lot more about the British culture thanks to Katie. I'm getting there."

Boulter was in his players' box for the match against Fils and is expected to be there again for the last-eight clash.

De Minaur was already likely to be heavily favoured.

Djokovic has never managed to win over a Wimbledon crowd who fell headlong for Roger Federer and grew to love Rafael Nadal - and the Serb has struggled to hide his resentment.

Despite his always being complimentary about Wimbledon the simmering tension boiled over after his fourth-round defeat of Holger Rune when he blasted Centre Court fans in his on-court interview, accusing them of using the call "Ruuuune" as cover for booing. 

There is also the underdog factor. De Minaur is a first-time quarter-finalist against a seven-time winner. The problem for de Minaur is Djokovic seems to draw strength from being abused,

"I think he wants to hear 'boo'," said Australia's 2003 finalist Mark Philippoussis. "It makes him play better. If I were to play him, I would just give him compliments on a change of ends. 

"Sometimes you just see in his eyes, when he gets focused and agitated for something, he goes to a different level mentally. He just clicks in and he uses that to play better."

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