‘Smile on my face’: Demon in rare air

Tennis: French Open
Alex de Minaur has climbed to world No.7. Picture: Kyodo News via Getty Images

Alex de Minaur says he’s looking forward to Wimbledon “with a smile on my face” after snaring a grass court title in the Netherlands and a career-high ranking of No.7.

It’s the highest ranking for any Aussie male since 2006 when Lleyton Hewitt achieved the same mark. Only Hewitt and Pat Rafter have been ranked higher than de Minaur among Australian men this century.

Fresh after making the quarter-finals at the French Open, de Minaur showed his love for grass by winning the Libema Open in the Dutch city of Rosmalen with a comprehensive 6-2, 6-4 final defeat of American talent Seb Korda.

“It achieves a new career high for me, so that’s always a great little bonus and (my) first week on grass couldn’t have gone any better, so I’m looking forward to next week in Queen’s and the whole grass court season with a smile on my face.

“I’m glad I was able to get a win here in Holland.”

The win adds to a stunning season for de Minaur, who has registered wins over higher-ranked opponents and defended a title for the first time at the ATP 500 tournament in Acapulco.

He also reached the final in Rotterdam and the quarter-finals in Monte-Carlo and is ranked sixth in the Race to Turin, where the eight best-performed men will compete in the end-of-year tour finals.

The Australian gun will now turn his attention to the ATP 500 tournament at Queen’s in London, where the Australian was runner-up to Carlos Alcaraz last year. He lifted his other trophy on grass at Eastbourne in 2021.