Australian star Alex de Minaur thinks that despite Novak Djokovic winning the Australian Open and Roland Garros titles this year, the younger generation, led by World No. 2 Daniil Medvedev, is closing the gap.
Alongside the Russian, Dominic Thiem lifted the US Open last September, beating 24-year-old Alexander Zverev in the final. Roland Garros finalist Stefanos Tsitsipas, who is 22, is currently second in the FedEx ATP Race To Turin.
“They are definitely knocking on those doors and beating these top guys in these tournaments,” De Minaur said. “When it comes to winning the Grand Slams, obviously we have had Novak win the past couple. Look, I think we’re getting closer and closer.
“I know everyone out there is gunning to be the next Grand Slam champ, and to try to make that big step. All the players are out there, they are doing everything they can to make that step, and take over.”
The 22-year-old believes the experience that younger players have gained in the past year has been invaluable in helping reduce the gap. However, De Minaur admits there is still more work to be done.
“I think a lot of it is experience, as well. Every time we get to play those matches, we get to learn a lot and improve and lose respect for these type of players. That’s only a good thing, because that means we can go out there and try to play like it’s just another match,
and more times than not, we’ll end up playing a better match, and if not win, get really close,” De Minaur said.
“Time is obviously on our side, and every match, every day that goes by, we have a bit more of a chance. But saying that, it’s definitely not done yet. They are bringing up some incredible tennis to this day, so it’s going to be completely tough. But, I think we’re all ready for the challenge,” De Minaur added.
The Australian is currently at a career-high No. 18 in the FedEx ATP Rankings after reaching the semi-finals at the cinch Championships (l. to Berrettini) in London last week. He is the second seed at the Viking International Eastbourne this week, and is keen to continue his good grass-court form on the south coast of England.
“I’m very happy with my week at Queen’s. I feel like I have been gradually improving every week on the grass,” De Minaur said. “The grass season is always one of my favourite parts of the year. I’m enjoying my time in the UK.
“I have always enjoyed the grass. I think it suits my game. I’m able to be a bit more aggressive. I’m able to use my movement, and try to sneak in and come to the net a lot. I just always like the quicker-paced courts.”