De Min­aur em­braces Hewitt links

TEN­NIS

Kalgoorlie Miner - - SPORT -

Teenage ten­nis sen­sa­tion Alex de Min­aur is the first to wel­come com­par­isons be­tween he and Lley­ton Hewitt, after the young­ster took an­other step down the path well worn by his men­tor in the lead-up to the Aus­tralian Open.

De Min­aur ar­rived in Mel­bourne in the early hours yes­ter­day to ramp up his prepa­ra­tions for the first grand slam of the year, fresh from his maiden ti­tle suc­cess at the Syd­ney In­ter­na­tional.

In de­feat­ing Ital­ian An­dreas Seppi 7-5 7-6 (7-5) in Satur­day night’s fi­nal, de Min­aur joined Hewitt in be­com­ing a teenage win­ner of the event that has the best of Aus­tralia’s tal­ent on its hon­our board.

Hewitt won his first of four ti­tles in Syd­ney as an 18-year-old in 2000, be­fore win­ning his maiden grand slam event a year later and be­com­ing Aus­tralia’s only men’s ma­jor win­ner of the 21st cen­tury so far.

And he was one of the first to con­grat­u­late the world No.29 after his suc­cess on Satur­day night.

“That’s def­i­nitely spe­cial,” de Min­aur said as he re­flected on be­ing the youngest win­ner in Syd­ney since Hewitt.

“Ev­ery time I walk down to Ken Rose­wall Arena and walk­ing down the tun­nel and you see his name on the board four times.

“I’m just happy that I was able to get the win and be the next Aussie to get the win and es­pe­cially at home.”

De Min­aur’s ti­tle win was also the first by any Aus­tralian sin­gles player — male or fe­male — in Syd­ney since Bernard Tomic in 2013.

He again had Hewitt in his box along with the for­mer star’s son Cruz, with the 10-year-old de Min­aur’s big­gest fan and reg­u­lar hit­ting buddy

In com­pe­ti­tion though, de Min­aur is con­stantly la­belled as a young Hewitt him­self.

He chases down op­po­nents’ at­tempted win­ners with Hewitt’s cus­tom­ary re­solve and de­ter­mi­na­tion, but also has some power in his punch on re­turns to seize the as­cen­dancy in ral­lies. “I think if you’re be­ing com­pared to Lley­ton, then you’re ob­vi­ously do­ing some­thing right,” de Min­aur said, with his eyes now firmly on to­day’s open­ing- round clash with Por­tu­gal’s Pe­dro Sousa in Mel­bourne.

“Grow­ing up, he’s one of the guys I looked up to and I watched a lot of matches. And to be able to, in a way, to fol­low his foot­steps and win (in Syd­ney) is def­i­nitely spe­cial.”

Pic­ture: Getty Images

Alex De Min­aur cel­e­brates his win against An­dreas Seppi at the Syd­ney In­ter­na­tional.

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