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THE QUANDRY FOR DE MINAUR AHEAD OF WIMBLEDON



Alex de Minaur enjoyed a scintillating week in the Netherlands, reassuring the tennis world of his credentials on grass and that he is in fact a contender to go deep at Wimbledon.


Fresh off his demolition of Seb Korda in the decider, the Australian would jet across the Channel to once again bid for the Queen’s title after falling at the final hurdle last year.


With a plethora of points to defend, de Minaur found himself in jeopardy of dropping from a new career high ranking of seven back to ninth should he fail to replicate his form of 2023.


Alas, an in form Lorenzo Musetti would claim a 1-6 6-4 6-2 victory in the opening round and send the New South Wales born star to the All England Club early.


The result leaves mixed fortunes for the highest ranked Australian, on the positive side he could focus solely on Wimbledon and aim to build on his stunning form that has seen him remain inside the top 10. But the negative side leaves him without a top eight seeding at SW19, which could prove catastrophic as the tournament heads into the second week.


A top eight seeding would have ensured protection from the likes of Sinner, Djokovic and Alcaraz until at least the quarterfinals, but now there is a very likely option that he could meet one of the superstars of the sport in the round of 16 should he get there.


With the seedings all confirmed, the man affectionately known as Demon finds himself in the cruelest position of ninth, which holds nowhere near as much sway as being the seventh seed.


It isn’t all doom and gloom for de Minaur, who finds himself in the same section as the man who took number seven away from him in Hubert Hurkacz, as well as Felix Auger Aliassime.


However, the Polish star is fresh off a Halle final and is a supreme performer on grass, reaching the semifinals in 2021 and famously handing Roger Federer a beatdown in what was the Swiss Maestro’s final ever singles match.


However, the Australian is a sensational returner that can handle the power of these big hitting opponents and he will back himself in to do so again to set up a possible quarterfinal matchup with Novak Djokovic.


But as mentioned above, the break for de Minaur to remain in London and get comfortable could be extremely beneficial.


Playing too much before a Grand Slam can be fraught with danger, especially in the best-of-five set format, so the extended time away from match play could allow him to embark on his sixth campaign at the All England Club.


Grass has always been a successful surface for de Minaur, amassing two titles throughout his career and a further final across his journey. His best chance at Wimbledon came in 2022 when he came agonisingly close to a quarterfinal berth after dropping a two-set lead against Cristian Garin.


This could well be the Grand Slam where the 25-year-old really makes his mark, and with a kind draw he may even push for a final.


But dropping to ninth seed might just prove his undoing, let’s wait and see. His first assignment is to conquer fellow Aussie James Duckworth in the openinfg round.

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