- Simon Cambers

They are the future of tennis whose stars shone brightly in 2018. Here's everything you wanted to know about them

Alex de Minaur at Roland-Garros 2018©Corinne Dubreuil/FFT

They are the future of tennis whose stars shone brightly in 2018. Here's everything you wanted to know about their tennis, hobbies and personalities.

Heirs to the throne, Part V: all you need to know about Alex de Minaur.

He’s a young man in a hurry

At the start of 2018, De Minaur was ranked 208, a fine prospect as a former junior Wimbledon runner-up but inexperienced and unproven on the world stage. Eleven months on and the young Australian is ranked 31 after a whirlwind rise.

He may look as if he is barely out of school, but he plays with real maturity, reaching finals in Sydney and Washington and producing numerous outstanding wins in 2018, with Andy Murray, Milos Raonic among those to be swept away by his stunning rise.

He won the ATP’s Newcomer of the Year award and all that is lacking is an ATP Tour title. On the evidence of the past 12 months, that won’t be long in coming.



Lleyton Hewitt is his mentor

Not many young players have the luxury of having a former world No 1 and grand slam champion in their corner but in Lleyton Hewitt, De Minaur has the ear of one of the best competitors in the past 30 years.

De Minaur lives in Spain with his family and trains in Alicante but when he is on the road, former Wimbledon and US Open champion Hewitt is often there by his side, offering words of wisdom. A natural counter-puncher with incredible speed,

De Minaur plays with the same kind of intensity as Hewitt and his two-handed backhand is reminiscent of the Aussie himself. All of which bodes well for the future.



He is probably the fastest mover in world tennis


It was Darren Cahill, the former coach of Lleyton Hewitt, who let the words out of his mouth. “I think he’s faster than you, Rusty”, referring to the speed around the court of De Minaur.

Hewitt’s response, in typical Australian fashion, was to say: “Turn it up”. At times, the 19-year-old looks like he’s moving on wheels, so fast is he to get back into position and retrieve a seemingly lost cause.

The likes of Gael Monfils and Diego Schwartzman might argue otherwise, but De Minaur must be the fastest man out there.



He works with a psychologist

While his fellow Australians Nick Kyrgios and Bernard Tomic have had more than a few run-ins on and off the court, De Minaur seems to have his head screwed on. The teenager told UK newspaper The Telegraph recently that he is working with a psychologist, who has made a “massive difference”.

“I call him before every match, and when I’m in Spain I see him face to face,” he said. “It’s mainly if I’m feeling any emotions that I’m not comfortable with. If I’m nervous or too excited. You have to learn every single day and try not to make the same mistakes. That’s my mentality. Tennis is a tough sport - a long year, a lot of matches, a lot of travelling. It's not easy so being mentally tough is a big attribute. It doesn’t come easy, you have to work on it."

That kind of attitude will take him a long way.



No one can pronounce his name correctly

Born in Sydney to a Spanish mother and Uruguayan father, De Minaur spent the first five years of his life in Australia before moving to Spain, where he stayed until 2012. He then spent four more years in his homeland before going back to Spain again. He speaks fluent English, Spanish and French, but unfortunately it seems no one can quite get his own name right.

“To be honest, I’ve heard it that many different ways, at this stage I’m considering changing my name to Demon,” he said, referring to his nickname. “It’s alright, it doesn’t really bother me. I’ve heard everything; “De min-hour”, “Deminooer”, just about everything except the proper way to say it. It’s “De Min-awe”. There you have it.