Melbourne, Australia , 19 January 2023 | Vivienne Christie

“Don’t worry, be happy” is a theme for Alex de Minaur in his sixth main-draw campaign at the Australian Open.

With those words written by the Australian himself on his racquet bag, the song by that same name has also become his pre-match listening choice.

As he progressed through his first-round match at Australian Open 2023 on Tuesday night, there was much for De Minaur, the No.22 men’s seed in Melbourne, to be happy about.

A brief rain delay arguably provided the biggest frustration as De Minaur completed a 6-2 6-2 6-3 victory in just over two hours.

“At the moment, I’ve got that (‘Don’t Worry, Be Happy’) song in my head at all times. I’m listening before I step out on court. I just want that message ingrained in my head,” De Minaur later explained with a smile.

“Whenever there’s a tough moment out there, I just kind of try to sing that song in my head and avoid any negative thoughts and try to stay positive.”

Not that De Minaur has appeared anything less than positive in a stunning recent stretch of his career.

The 23-year-old capped a personal-best 2022 season – which included fourth-round appearances at the Australian Open and Wimbledon, plus a sixth ATP singles title in Atlanta – by leading Australia to a runner-up finish at the Davis Cup Finals.

This year already features a significant breakthrough, De Minaur claiming a first win over Rafael Nadal at the United Cup in the four matches they’ve played.

“I knew I had that level for a while but to get these wins, it’s a different level,” said the Australian, who recovered from a first-set deficit against the prolific Spaniard.

“So now I know I can do it every week, so that’s the plan now – I’ve just got to get to play those matches and back myself.

“Have a lot of confidence, believe in myself and enjoy what I do every day.”

De Minaur will have his next opportunity to showcase his improvements in his second-round Australian Open encounter with French veteran Adrian Mannarino.

“We’ve had a couple battles. I know what’s coming. He’s a tricky opponent. He’s going to fight till the end,” he said of the 33-year-old. “I’ll be getting ready for a four or five-set battle, for sure.”

De Minaur enters the match with a comprehensive support network, including Australian Davis Cup captain Lleyton Hewitt and legendary coach Tony Roche who were both courtside for Tuesday night’s encounter with Hsu.

Australian Peter Luczak, a former world No.64 on the ATP Tour, is also guiding De Minaur in Melbourne this month.

“We started at the start of this year. But I’ve known Peter for a long time. We’ve gone back, done a lot of Davis Cup matches together,” said De Minaur of Luczak, who has been added as a part-time member of his coaching team.

“It’s been good to have him around. He’s keeping a very positive mindset, keeping kind of me calm.

“I tend to be quite hard on myself, so he’s kind of trying to remind me that I’m doing well, that I’m doing the right things, and to kind of enjoy every second out there.”

British girlfriend Katie Boulter, also a professional player, is another positive presence in De Minaur’s life.

“She’s amazing. Yeah, I guess it’s the beauty of us being both in the same sport. We kind of understand each other. We know what to expect, how we can help each other in certain situations,” De Minaur commented this week of the world No.120 Boulter.

“Tennis is a very stressful lifestyle, as it is. It’s always great to have a partner that you can kind of count on, help you out here and there.”

That steady environment helps De Minaur manage any pressures at his home Grand Slam, where he started as the only Australian to hold a seeding in either singles draw.

“I’ve been in this position a while. Yeah, in Davis Cup obviously. I kind of cherish it. I know what is asked from me. I know that at times I’ve got some pressure on myself to deliver. I take it with pride, ultimately,” reasoned De Minaur of his position in the Australian tennis spotlight.

“We’re in the second round of a Grand Slam. There’s still a long, long way to go. I try to look at it more as me individually and try to focus on my goals and get as deep as I can.

“That’s the plan. That’s the goal. Get deep, enjoy myself, and keep getting better every day.”

> READ: De Minaur ready to go at Australian Open 2023