Alex De Minaur has been knocking on the door of the ATP’s top 10 for quite some time now, to the point where the door is awfully close to falling over.
The Sydney-born 24-year-old has hardly ever gone backwards in his climb up the rankings since he first turned pro in 2015 and that natural progression lead him to a career high world ranking of #11 earlier this month.
It’s been a big year for the ‘Demon’ with fourth round appearances at both the Australian Open and the US Open, a maiden appearance in a Masters 1000 Final and a seventh career ATP title to go along with it.
Despite the success though, it was clear after the US Open that De Minaur, a player who is renowned for his dogged fighting capabilities, was exhausted and needed to recharge the batteries.
He took the first set against Daniil Medvedev in the Round of 16 at the US Open before being quickly swept away by the Russian star, leading De Minaur to admit that the success of the previous few months had caught up with him.
“That’s 100% what happened and it’s probably the first time in my career that kind of fitness let me down” he said.
“It’s not something that happens. I back myself every day of the year.
“I think there was no lack of confidence to beat him. I knew what I had to do to hurt him and ...
I showed it until my legs went away. And then suddenly I had to try and scramble, finding different ways of playing, and you can’t do that against a player of the calibre of Daniil.”
Having entered three tournaments since competing at Flushing Meadows including the Japan Open just gone where he made the quarter finals, he will need big results in Switzerland and Paris to round out October if he is to launch into the top 10. He sits at 13 in the world.
He starts his ATP 500 Basel campaign tonight Australian time against Diego Schwartzman who he defeated in the Round 16 in Tokyo last week.
The ATP Race to Turin is the best guide as to what ground he needs to make in this fortnight and currently he’s 255 points behind Casper Ruud who sits at #10.
The Paris Masters which begins next Monday is the final chance for all players to stake their claims and end the year inside the world’s ‘elite’.
If we use 2022 as a reference point, Hubert Hurkacz ended the year at #10 and on 2,905 points. That’s around 400 points more than De Minaur right now but it’s looking likely the bar will be raised this year with possibly at least 12 players breaking through 3,000.
It obviously all depends on the results of other players but De Minaur is probably going to need around 600 more points to guarantee landing inside the top 10 once the year is done and dusted.
A SF at the Swiss Indoors and a SF at the Paris Masters equates to 540 points, which gives us some guide as to what’s required overt the next few weeks.
It’s been almost 20 years since an Australian male has been inside the world’s top 10, that being De Minaur’s Davis Cup captain and two-time major champion, Lleyton Hewitt.
Speaking at the recent 2024 Australian Open launch Hewitt insisted De Minaur would fit right at home in the world’s top 10.
"He's getting there. I always knew that he was going to be a top-10 player, I had full belief in that," Hewitt said.
"He's hopefully going to get his opportunity over the next few months to crack into the top 10."