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By Chris Oddo | @TheFanChild | Sunday January 2, 2021

 
Alex de Minaur

Alex de Minaur inspires with his love of country and his passion for the sport, not to mention his jaw-dropping wheels.

Photo Source: Getty

The tattoo says a lot – the 109th player to represent Australia at the storied Davis Cup, he had the number inscribed into his left pectoral – about Alex de Minaur.

Tennis Express

It’s right there, every time he removes a sweat-soaked t-shirt after a grueling workout. “109”. A reminder that the sacrifice is all for a worthy cause.

“There’s no greater honor,” an emotional De Minaur told the crowd at Ken Rosewall Arena in Sydney last night as he pulled off a stunning upset of Matteo Berrettini to snap a nine-match losing streak against the Top-10 and help vault Australia to the top of the ATP Cup standings.


Honestly, the honor is ours. Watching a player compete with the relentless fury of De Minaur, an athlete who truly embodies the “leave it all on the court” ethos, is nothing short of pure inspiration. It was exactly what tennis fans needed on the second day of the ATP season, as we collectively shake off our holiday hangovers and look for something to get us fired up about the new season, the new year and all the possibilities that both hold in store.

“I want to bring it to these top guys, you know, just really own the court,” De Minaur told reporters at the end of a long emotional night.

Heck yeah to that attitude.

On a night that was supposed to be about the dominant Italians and their menacing ATP Cup squad, which features four Top-40 players and entered the competition on the short list of teams likely to dethrone defending champion Russia, De Minaur turned the tie on its ear and reminded us of the beauty of the competition, when it is properly embraced.

There are those who are destined to dominate the court, like Italy’s Berrettini and Germany’s Alexander Zverev, 6’4” and taller players who can systematically remove the racquet from the hands of their more diminutive foes, and then there are those who are skilled at muddying up the track and using unique skill sets to defuse such beasts.

To watch De Minaur blanket the court, darting from corner to corner, and baseline to no-man’s land, with stunning, ferocious acceleration, is to see tennis played at a different tempo. To observe the feral look in his eyes as he works over his opponent with a series of psychological gut punches and body blows, is the stuff of Aussie lore.

Just like the great Ken Rosewall and his ATP Cup captain Lleyton Hewitt, De Minaur plays like a man possessed and obsessed with honoring his sport and his country.

It’s not an understatement. De Minaur plays with the heat of a five-alarm fire and dashes madly about the court like a souped-up muscle car, leaving 10 meter skid marks all over the surface by the time one of his enthralling encounters comes to a close.

On Sunday night in Sydney, as he spearheaded Australia’s upset over Italy with his 6-3, 7-6(4) triumph over the World No.7, De Minaur was a beacon of hope for the less endowed, a point of reference (and envy) for the less motivated, and a reminder to tennis aficionados everywhere that while the sport may appear to be more homogenized than ever, in an era of big servers and baseline bashers, multiple ways to skin the cat on a tennis court persist.

Alex de Minaur at his finest is living proof that heart and hustle and heady, cerebral tactics can punch a heavy-hitter’s lights out, and leave him on the canvas, stretched out in agony as the little engine that could roars at the top of his lungs: “This is my house.”

“Alex played fantastic,” Aussie Captain Hewitt said after Australia’s victory. “He's had a really big preseason. He came out there and owned the match right from the start. Yeah, did pretty much everything right tonight. That's a hell of a win for him to start the season off on the right track.”

In many ways, it feels like De Minaur has done more than start his own season on the right track. He’s also reminded us all of what we may expect in 2022. It’ll be a long season, full of passion, hair-raising battles, and there will be surprises galore.

We’re here for it. Show us what you got, Alex de Minaurs of the world, and don’t hold back.

 

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