“It’s safe to say I didn’t enjoy it very much” Alex de Minaur reveals relief at being back in Australia
There will surely be no player more delighted to have arrived in Melbourne than Alex de Minaur.
The Australian No 1 is back in his home country after more than a year away, having left in January 2020 after an abdominal injury forced him to withdraw from last year’s opening Grand Slam event.
Although he is now based in Spain, 21-year-old De Minaur says that he has never spent such a long period away from his homeland, his plans last year having had to change because of Australia’s strict quarantine restrictions during the pandemic.
“It’s been a very long time,” the world No 23 said. “I’m not used to it. Obviously I normally get back to Australia around November. I always do my pre-season there and have the whole Australian summer there. This year due to circumstances it’s been a little bit different.
“I was in Spain. I wasn’t able to get to Australia without doing the two-week quarantine in the hotel so we decided to stay in Spain and do the pre-season there. It was the first pre-season I’ve done in the winter. It’s safe to say I didn’t enjoy it very much. I’m more of a summer guy.”
Because of the delay to the start of the Australian Open this winter’s off-season was longer than usual, but De Minaur had some good practice partners in Alicante.
“For me it’s the best tournament of the year. I can’t wait”
“Cameron Norrie came over and we did a couple of good weeks with him,” he said. “We also practised with players like Carlos Alcaraz, Guillermo Garcia-Lopez, Roberto Bautista Agut and Albert Ramos-Vinolas. There are a lot of good players in Spain, so it ended up being a pretty good pre-season.”
The good work paid off in the first tournament of the 2021 season as De Minaur won the Antalya Open, beating Malek Jaziri, Adrian Andreev, Nikoloz Basilshvili, David Goffin and Alexander Bublik to claim the fourth title of his career and his first since 2019.
Norrie will be De Minaur’s practice partner for the first week of quarantine in Melbourne. In the second week they will practise with Gael Monfils and Emil Ruusuvuori.
“It’s special this time around,” De Minaur said as he looked ahead to competing in Australia. “I didn’t get to play last year so I’m definitely looking forward to playing in front of my home crowd. For me it’s the best tournament of the year. I can’t wait. Hopefully the two weeks of quarantine will go by quickly and we can get going.”
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