Sydney, Australia, 7 January 2024 | Matt Trollope

The saying goes that you can’t be what you can’t see.

Alex de Minaur has seen plenty of top-10 players across the net lately. Three in a row, in fact, as the Aussie No.1 has confronted a succession of quality opponents at the United Cup.

In the space of five days, De Minaur has upstaged 10th-ranked Taylor Fritz, world No.1 Novak Djokovic and seventh-ranked Alexander Zverev.

Thanks to those performances, he is guaranteed to crack the top 10 himself.

De Minaur has risen to 10th in the ATP live standings following his three-set win over Zverev and will officially click over as a top-10 player with the release of Monday’s rankings.

“It’s what I’ve worked so hard for, it’s another milestone,” he said to huge cheers at Ken Rosewall Arena, as the milestone was announced during his on-court interview.

“But the job’s not done … we keep improving, we keep working – it’s going to be a fun Aussie summer.”

The 24-year-old becomes the first Australian man to make his top-10 debut since Lleyton Hewitt first cracked this elite group in May 2000. It also ends a near 18-year wait for an Australian presence there; Hewitt was last inside the ATP top 10 in July 2006.

De Minaur turbo-charged his ascent in 2023, a season he began ranked 24th. Having scored seven top-10 wins in his career to that point, he managed six in 2023 alone, as well as winning his first ATP 500 title in Acapulco and reaching his first ATP Masters 1000 final in Toronto.

Add in this week’s United Cup results, and it means the Aussie has beaten nine top-10 players in the past 12 months alone.

This is also the first time he has managed to beat three consecutively, and his win over Djokovic marked his first over a world No.1.

This form spike can be connected to the added steeliness with which De Minaur is playing in 2024.

ROSEWALL ON DE MINAUR: “His game has come up to another level”

“(My improved level) comes from a lot of people not believing in me, so I’m just here to prove a lot of people wrong, try to keep on getting better,” he revealed, before later adding:

“It’s something I’ve heard my whole career: I’m not big enough, I’m not strong enough, I’m a pusher, don’t have the firepower. Never gonna be a top player.

“I hear this week in and week out, but the only thing that does is give me more fire and adds more gasoline to this engine, that’s ready to do everything in its power to prove people wrong.

“Hey, everyone’s entitled to their own opinion, but I know that I’m going to get the absolute most of myself.”

Despite De Minaur’s electrifying win over Zverev, Australia ultimately lost its United Cup semifinal to Team Germany.

It means he now heads to Melbourne for his Australian Open 2024 campaign, brimming with confidence.

Next week he will play an charity match against world No.2 Carlos Alcaraz at Rod Laver Arena, before embarking on his seventh campaign at Melbourne Park.

Expected to be a top-10 seed at a Grand Slam event for the first time, he will aim to improve on his fourth-round showings in 2022 and 2023, so far his best AO results.

His best Grand Slam result was a quarterfinal run at the 2020 US Open.