Australia, 28 August 2023 | Leigh Rogers

Alex de Minaur is firmly entrenched inside the world’s top 20, peaking at a new career-high of world No.12 earlier this month.

Behind him, there’s a fierce battle unfolding to be the Australian No.2 singles player.

Four different players have held the Australian No.2 position in the past month, highlighting exceptional depth last seen more than four decades ago.

This last happened in late 1977 and early 1978, when the No.2 ranking switched hands between Ken Rosewall, Tony Roche, John Alexander and Phil Dent in consecutive ranking updates.

Australian No.2
Men’s singles rankings
Date Player (ranking)
31 July 2023 Nick Kyrgios (No.35)
7 August 2023 Jordan Thompson (No.55)
14 August 2023 Aleksandar Vukic (No.48)
21 August 2023 Alexei Popyrin (No.40)

Alexei Popyrin is the current Australian No.2. The 24-year-old rose to a career-high world No.40 last week after reaching his first ATP Masters 1000 quarterfinal at Cincinnati.

It continues an impressive run for Popyrin, who recently became the first Australian in 14 years to win an ATP clay-court singles crown.

In mid-July, Popyrin was the ninth-ranked Australian at world No.90.

He is not the only Australian man making major moves.

Aleksandar Vukic and Max Purcell have made their top-50 debuts in recent weeks, while Jordan Thompson returned to the top 50 for the first time since March 2021.

Jason Kubler achieved a career-high ranking of world No.63 earlier this season, while Chris O’Connell rose to a new peak of No.67 last month.

“It’s pretty incredible how many we have in the top 100 at the moment,” Kubler said.

“The biggest thing with us, is how close we are. We all grew up together and I’ve known some of these guys since I was 12, 13 years old.”

> RANKING MOVERS: Four Aussie men inside the world’s top 50

This depth meant Australian Davis Cup captain Lleyton Hewitt and his coaching team faced an unprecedentedly difficult task to select a five-member team for the upcoming finals in Great Britain.

“There’s been a lot of really good performances, not only in singles but also doubles, throughout the year,” Hewitt said.

“It makes decision making for the Davis Cup team and the squad really tough, but that’s a position that myself, (Tony) Roche and Crabby (Jaymon Crabb) enjoy being in.

“We prefer to have it that way over having limited players to choose from.”

> READ: De Minaur to lead Australian Davis Cup team at 2023 finals

This depth is also evident at the US Open, with 10 Australian men competing in the main draw this fortnight.

This means there’s plenty of opportunity – and healthy competition – to earn valuable ranking points in New York.

> READ: Seven Aussies in action on day one at US Open 2023

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