De Minaur confident after flying start to clay-court swing
Australia's top-ranked man Alex de Minaur is enjoying his best clay-court season yet and is determined to continue his winning run at Madrid this week.
With four wins from his six matches on clay so far this season, Alex de Minaur has arrived at the Madrid Open with brimming confidence.
Although clay has traditionally been the 23-year-old’s most challenging surface, he has produced some impressive results on the European red dirt so far in 2022.
This includes a maiden ATP clay-court semifinal appearance at Barcelona, where he also scored his first top-10 win on the surface against Brit Cameron Norrie.
“Making semifinals in Barca was a lot of a confidence-booster, obviously my first clay-court semifinals,” De Minaur told tennis.com.au.
“I’m really happy with how my level is progressing, especially on the clay. I’m feeling more and more comfortable and looking forward to having, hopefully, a big clay swing.”
De Minaur’s two clay-court losses this season have been against world No.8 Andrey Rublev and world No.11 Carlos Alcaraz, with both matches extending to three sets.
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De Minaur faces Pedro Martinez, a 24-year-old Spaniard ranked world No.44, in the opening round at the ATP Masters 1000 tournament in Madrid today.
“My clay-court goals for this season are just to keep on improving,” said De Minaur. “I’m already feeling much better than the previous years.”
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The Spain-based De Minaur has added motivation this week, buoyed by the opportunity to compete in front of family and friends.
“Of course, Spain is very close to my heart,” said the world No.22, whose family relocated to Alicante when he was five years old.
“I’ve spent a lot of time here, so whenever I get to compete here is always special. I’ve always got a lot of family and friends over this side of the world supporting me and being able to come and watch me, so it always make it very special. It kind of helps that I can speak the language too.”
These added benefits are not lost on De Minaur, who believes a more positive approach has been the key to his recent clay-court success.
“I don’t know if I’ve made any changes for my clay-court preparation this year. I think, more than anything, mentally I’m in a better head space,” he said.
“I’m kind of enjoying being on the clay, enjoying what it brings out of me. I’m adapting well. I’ve got a couple of wins and I’m feeling confident.”
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