WATCH: De Minaur began the 2023 season with an epic win over Rafael Nadal at the inaugural United Cup.


Home hopes were blunted early on at the 2023 Australian Open when both Nick Kyrgios and Ajla Tomljanovic were forced to withdraw from the men’s and women’s draws before even hitting a ball due to injury.

With Ashleigh Barty also out of action since retiring last spring, attention fell to top-ranked Aussie Alex de Minaur, a 23-year-old looking to match his maiden second-week appearance in Melbourne from 2022—and then some.

“I want to see myself at the top,” he said of his lofty goals on Wednesday. “I think there's no secret on that. I do believe that I've got the level to get there.”

Can De Minaur conquer any lingering “demons” to make that happen? Get to know the No. 22 seed:

The Basics

De Minaur enjoyed an impressive junior career that nonetheless put him on the periphery of his headline-grabbing colleagues. He reached the 2016 junior Wimbledon final, only to finish runner-up to Denis Shapovalov. Once he turned pro, he stood out among the Next Gen set, making back-to-back finals at its eponymous finals—falling to Stefanos Tsitsipas and Jannik Sinner.

Still, the physically unassuming Aussie has been betting on slow and steady winning the race, already racking up six ATP titles out of 10 finals and reaching his first Grand Slam quarterfinal at the 2020 US Open, upsetting No. 11 seed Karen Khachanov along the way.

Ranked inside the Top 15 in 2021, De Minaur kicks off 2023 back inside the Top 30 after briefly falling out last year, warming up for his home Slam at the inaugural United Cup.


I want to see myself at the top,” he said of his lofty goals on Wednesday. “I think there's no secret on that. I do believe that I've got the level to get there. Alex de Minaur

The Latest

It was there that he scored a statement victory over Rafael Nadal, only his second win over a Top 5 player.

His first came last fall against Daniil Medvedev, snapping an 18-match losing streak against the game’s best players.

“I think my whole career, I've been improving gradually,” De Minaur said before the Australian Open began. “Just recently I've had those wins to kind of back that and give me that confidence to know that I can do that often. I'm happy with where my level's at, where I'm at. Hopefully I get more chances to play against these top guys and take it to 'em.”

With new coach Peter Luczak, De Minaur has been taking it to the AO field thus far, dropping just one set in his first two matches and solving a tricky four-setter against Adrian Mannarino to put himself a win away from the second week.


Why It Matters

A notoriously sports-mad country, Australia very nearly had nothing to cheer for after an ominous start to its fortnight. Between De Minaur and surging countryman Alexei Popyrin, the men’s event is shaping up to be a pleasant surprise for local fans—but self-described “chilled” De Minaur is aiming for more than a good time.

“I'm out there and I'm just trying to work on myself, try to keep improving,” he said. “I've got my goals.

“Ultimately what I want to achieve in life is to get the most out of myself, the most I possibly can. That way I can finish my career and be satisfied with the effort and the work I've put in.”

In a relatively wide-open draw, that hard work may have a date with destiny.