Alex de Minaur matches Lleyton Hewitt tennis feat after United Cup thriller

The Aussie is heading into the Australian Open in career best form.

Alex de Minaur and Lleyton Hewitt embrace and de Minaur celebrates.
Alex de Minaur (pictured right) has become the first Aussie male tennis player to reach the top 10 rankings since his mentor Lleyton Hewitt (pictured left) after his United Cup win over Alexander Zverev. (Getty Images)

Alex de Minaur has produced some of the best tennis of his career to defeat Alexander Zverev and in doing so he becomes the first Aussie male tennis player to reach the top 10 rankings since his mentor Lleyton Hewitt. De Minaur stunned the tennis world having defeated both Taylor Fritz and then World No.1 Novak Djokovic to help Australia reach the United Cup semi-final.

And in another epic match, de Minaur produced his best tennis to defeat the dangerous Alexander Zverev 5-7, 6-3, 6-4 to give Australia the chance to advance to the final. Unfortunately, Australia lost 2-1 to Germany in the tie.

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But for de Minaur he enters the Australian Open in the best form of his career and will enter the top 10 by the time he plays at Melbourne Park. With Hewitt looking on, de Minaur now becomes the first Australian male to reach the top 10 since Hewitt in 2006.

The 24-year-old will now face a favourable draw in his Australian Open run and will be looking to better his fourth round exit from the home grand slam last year. And de Minaur said all the doubters that have knocked him for not having the game to go shot-for-shot with the top players are fuelling his rise.

"I was able to really step it up after my first match and get that confidence and it's great getting these matches before the Australian Open," de Minaur said. "It was very special and it's a moment I'll cherish forever.

"I see all the reasons why I'm not going to be a good player, why I'm not going to make it or why I'm not going to improve. I store it in the back of my head, and I use it as motivation. Ultimately, it's my drive that has put me in this position and I want to get the absolute most out of myself."

Alex De Minaur celebrates with Lleyton Hewitt.
Alex De Minaur (pictured left) will now enter the top 10 having defeated Alexander Zverev at the United Cup. (Photo by Andy Cheung/Getty Images)

The tennis world was in disbelief of de Minaur's run to start 2024 and have praised him for matching Hewitt's long-standing feat. Tennis icon Billie Jean King even praised the 24-year-old for his recent achievements.

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Zverev will enter the Australian Open as one of the players to watch out for as he returns 18 months on from a serious leg injury. And the German was also full of praise for de Minaur as he acknowledged improvements across his game.

"I feel like that's the best Alex has played against me," Zverev said. "He's in unbelievable form… his forehand has always been probably the shakier shot, but it wasn't. His second serve especially surprised me, he was going at 160kmh to 165kmh, which never used to be the case.

"His second serve was always a weak spot and he played amazingly. He beat Novak in straight sets and he beat me today, he's in very good form and he's very dangerous at the moment." And de Minaur also admitted his three consecutive wins over top 10 players has helped his confidence.

"This last week has helped my record against top-10 opponents significantly," de Minaur said. "I've shown I've been able to do it and back it up in two different cities. I'm very happy with how 2024 is going and hopefully I can keep it going."

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