Alex de Minaur has shown his class having consoled Milos Raonic after the Canadian retired injured in their first round clash at the Australian Open. De Minaur has entered the Australia Open having entered the top 10 rankings and defeating the likes of Novak Djokovic and Alexander Zverev in the lead-up to the grand slam.
And de Minaur found himself in a tough battle against the former World No.3 Raonic straight away as he found himself guessing on the Canadian's monster serve throughout the first set. And Rod Laver Arena was stunned when Raonic took the first set tiebreak.
While Raonic had the lead on the scoreboard, de Minaur was forcing the big Canadian to move around the caught after he took a sudden timeout for treatment on his troublesome hip flexor. And de Minaur recognised the Canadian was struggling as he moved his hobbling rival around Rod Laver Arena.
De Minaur was ready to battle all the way till the end and Raonic was slowing down, which saw the Aussie jump out and win the second set and take a lead in the third. And the injury became too much for Raonic who unfortunately hobbled to the net and retired in the third set to hand De Minaur passage through to the second round.
Raonic has battled plenty of injuries between 2021 and 2023 and used a protected ranking to enter the grand slam. And to show his disappointment for his rival, de Minaur ran over to Raonic as he exited court to wish the Canadian well as he said goodbye.
In his on-court interview, de Minaur said he hoped Raonic could comeback stronger after going through a tough time with injuries. "Well look, first of all I hope Milos. a speedy recovery. It's not great seeing him like this. He deserves to be healthy...hopefully he is back in no time," the Aussie said.
Fans reacted to the sad image of Raonic exiting court yet again battling injury. Raonic has previously undergone surgery for a hip injury and fans were hoping the 33-year-old's most recent issue was not as serious. Many felt Raonic was playing top tennis before the timeout and wished he would return in 2024.
Milos Raonic retires down 0-2 in the 3rd set to Alex De Minaur.
Played *so well* for 90 minutes.
— José Morgado (@josemorgado) January 15, 2024
Not surprised Raonic has pulled up/out he was not looking great on court - he would have taken DeMinaur right to the brink, like all tennis fans we never like seeing this but hopefully we will see him back soon #AusOpen
— melon husk (@marcuskelson) January 15, 2024
What a sad ending. Milos Raonic, who played great for two sets, has to retire against Alex de Minaur in the third set..#AusOpen
— Toptennistweets (@Toptennis_tweet) January 15, 2024
Alex de Minaur admitted the first set was certainly a surprise, but was able to hang in the contest, which saw him advance. "As you saw I was chasing his serve for the better part of that match - guessing every now and again," de Minaur added.
"I just focused on myself in the second set, had to restart and managed to jag a break out of the blue and change the momentum." De Minaur was one of a number of Aussies to advance to the second round of the Australian Open.
Alexei Popyrin sets up Novak Djokovic clash
On Monday, Jordan Thompson defeated fellow Aussie Aleksandar Vukic in five sets to advance to the second round. While Alexei Popyrin defeated fellow Aussie Marc Polmans to set-up a clash with World No.1 Djokovic.
Popyrin will need to lift his game and use the support of the home crowd after setting-up a second round encounter with Djokovic. A late scratching from last week's Adelaide International after being troubled by a back complaint in Brisbane, Popyrin moved freely in living up to his Australian No.2 status with an impressive straight-sets win.
Popyrin was strong on serve having blasted 20 aces and won all 14 of his service games during the victory. In warm conditions, Popyrin broke Polmans four times in progressing in two hours and 28 minutes on John Cain Arena.
Sign up to our newsletter and score the biggest sport stories of the week.