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Alex de Minaur: Five Facts About Australia’s Latest Tennis Star

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Alex de Minaur (zimbio.com)

17-year-old Alex de Minaur has made headlines on the opening day at the Australian Open. Making his debut in the main draw of a grand slam tournament, the teenager stunned Austria’s Gerald Melzer 5-7, 6-3, 2-6, 7-6 (7-2), 6-1, saving a match point on route. The win comes only two weeks after he made his ATP Tour debut in Brisbane, where he stunned Benoit Paire in the first round.

 

De Minaur is the first 17-year-old to win a grand slam match on the men’s tour since Borna Coric at the 2014 US Open. Tipped by many in his home country as the next big things in the men’s game, here are five things to know about the rising star.

Comes from a multi-national background

De Minaur was born in Sydney on February 17th 1999. His mother comes from Spain and father comes from Uruguay. He lived in Alicante, Spain until the age of five before he moved to Australia, where he was mentored by the national tennis body. Due to his international routes, de Minaur can speak English, Spanish and French.

Had a successful junior career

In February 2016, the Australian peaked at a high of 2nd in the world on the junior tour. Achieving good performances in both singles and doubles, De Minaur is the current Australian Open boys’ doubles champion and reached the final in the singles category at Wimbledon. His combined win-loss record on the junior circuit is 178 – 97 according to figures provided by the ITF.

Reached his first Challenger final in 2016

De Minaur’s first senior breakthrough occurred last November in Germany at the Bauer Watertechnology Cup, a Challenger event. After coming through qualifying, he knocked out Kenny de Schepper, Jurgen Melzer and Franko Skugor in the main draw on his way to the final. He was denied his first Challenger title by Belgium’s Steve Darcis.

Currently he has only won one senior trophy – a doubles title from a Futures tournament in Spain.

Has a close bond with Lleyton Hewitt

Seven-time grand slam doubles champion John Fitzgerald describes Minaur as “a young Lleyton Hewitt’. It is an association that will delight the teenager.

In recent years de Minaur has been cheered on and mentored by Hewitt. Leading up to this year’s Australian Open, the youngster has been residing in Hewitt’s house.

“It was great to just have that inside advice all the time and get his thoughts on everything,” De Minaur told Fairfax Media.
“It was a great preparation for the Australian Open. A very tough pre-season and I couldn’t be happier. I stayed with him in Sydney and also at his place in Melbourne. At the French Open last year in the juniors, he came out and we had a nice chat and told me that he would be very supportive of everything I needed.
“It’s been unbelievable the amount of stuff he’s done for me. I couldn’t be more grateful. I spent time with his family and we went out with the family for dinner together … it was nice.”

Hewitt was also 17 when he won his first grand slam match.

Nicknamed ‘Demon’ by fellow teammates

During his time as an orange boy (hitting partner) during Australia’s Davis Cup tie against Slovakia, De Minaur earnt the nickname ‘Demon’. It was given to him be teammates Nick Kyrgios and Bernard Tomic according to the Sydney Morning Herald.

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Stan Wawrinka Pushes For Tennis To Be More Sustainable With The Help Of Sponsor Evian

The former world No.3 has called for more to be done in the sport to help protect the environment.

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Stan Wawrinka (photo by chryslène caillaud, copyright @Sport Vision)

Three-time grand slam champion Stan Wawrinka is hoping that he can inspire other players to follow his example after pledging to bring his own bottle to matches on the tour to reduce the use of plastic.

 

Starting at this week’s Monte Carlo Masters, the Swiss No.2 has started using personalised Evian Soma glass refillable bottles. The initiative came about after Wawrinka spoke with his sponsor about wanting to become more sustainable on the court. Due to the length of tennis matches, thousands of plastic water bottles are consumed during tournaments. At Wimbledon, it is estimated that 250,000 bottles are sold each year.

“I’m extremely happy to start using my evian® Soma® glass refillable bottles. Sustainability is very important to me and I am convinced that each one of us can make a difference every day.” Wawrinka said in a press release.
“As an athlete, I drink a lot of water, so I had the idea to use the new evian® Soma® glass refillable bottles on court. This project means a lot to me and I’m happy that evian® now provides such an offer.”


In recent months the world of tennis has moved to become more sustainable. In November at the season-ending ATP Finals, officials pledged to reduce the environmental impact caused by the eight-day event. Implementing initiatives such as water fountains around the venue and reusable bottles. The campaign was one praised by Wawrinka, who hopes it can be implemented throughout the tour.

“I spoke to my fellow players and the ATP leadership in order to reduce the use of plastic bottles at ATP events. All players received refillable bottles and it was a great initiative which we want to bring to more and more tournaments,” he said.

The 34-year-old isn’t the only player calling for more to be done to make tennis go green. Kevin Anderson, who is the vice-president of the ATP players’ council, has spoken on numerous occasions about doing more for the environment. The South African said he was inspired to do so after watching a documentary on Netflix.

“We are in a fortunate position where we might be able to affect some positive change, no matter how small it might be. Protecting the environment and reducing plastic waste on the Tour is something that I am very passionate about, along with many of my peers.” Anderson stated in 2018.

At this week’s Monte Carlo Masters, Wawrinka experienced a mixed performance. After defeating Lucas Pouille in his opening match, he was knocked out in the second round by Marco Cecchinato after boasting a one-set lead. His next tournament is set to be the Madrid Masters in May.

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Naomi Osaka Named ‘Pioneer’ In Time Magazine’s Most Influential People Of 2019

The two-time grand slam champion has another achievement to add to her expanding resume.

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Naomi Osaka (photo by chryslène caillaud, copyright @Sport Vision)

World No.1 Naomi Osaka has become the only tennis player to be included in this year’s edition of Time’s Magazine’s most influential people.

 

The Time 100 is an annual list published by the American news magazine. It recognises and celebrates the ‘pioneers, leaders, titans, artists and icons of 2019.’ For each person nominated to be on the list, they have an extract written about them by a fellow celebrity. In Osaka’s case, 18-time grand slam champion Chris Evert paid tribute to the Japanese player.

“Some people want her to embrace a single identity. She’s more concerned with just being herself.” Evert wrote for time.com. “No one represents our more globalized, multicultural future better than this honest, polite, self-deprecating tennis life force, a potential champion for years to come.”

Osaka’s place in the Time 100 is in a section called ‘pioneers.’ Other entrants include actress Sandra Oh, who is the first Asian woman to win two Golden Globes, and Italian restaurateur Massimo Bottura.

The past 18 months have seen the 21-year-old race up the world rankings to become a heavyweight in the world of women’s tennis. After claiming her maiden major title at the US Open, she went on to claim another grand slam at the Australian Open. Something that was last achieved by Serena Williams between 2014-2015. In January, Osaka became the first Asian player – man or women – to top the rankings and remains in that position at present.

Osaka’s surge in popularity has been highlighted by an array of endorsements. Earlier this month, she scored a high-profile deal with Nike. Reportedly skipping other offers from companies such as Uniqlo, according to Japanese media. She also has other deals with Nissan, All Nippon Airways and Proctor & Gamble.

Osaka is set to return to action at the Porsche Grand Prix in Germany later this month.

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At Monte Carlo Masters, Home Players Mourn The Devastating Notre-Dame Fire

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Monte Carlo Rolex Masters 2019 (photo by Tennis chryslène caillaud, copyright @Sport vision)

The talking point wasn’t what Pierre-Hugues Herbert did during his first round match at the Monte Carlo Masters, it was what he did afterwards.

 

Moments after scoring a 6-4, 6-4, win over Spain’s Fernando Verdasco, he grabbed a pen and proceeded to write on a camera lens. His message read ‘Notre Dame’ with a drawing of a broken heart below. Herbert’s words echoed those of many coming to terms with a serious fire that caused extensive damage to one of France’s most renowned landmarks.

“I think many French were affected by what happened in Paris, Notre-Dame.” Herbert told reporters on Tuesday. “And when we are French and we enjoy Paris, this beautiful city, we are proud of Paris. And when we see Notre-Dame on fire and the spire crumbling down, that was really shocking for me yesterday evening.’
“I said to myself that if ever I won, I would like to send a message of love for Notre-Dame that was crumbling down and that I was very affected yesterday evening.”

https://twitter.com/Stroppa_Del/status/1118104801315885057

The Notre-Dame cathedral was built over the course of 200 years with work starting back in 1163. 714 years before the first ever Wimbledon Championships took place in 1877. An estimated 13 million people visit the building every year, which was undergoing renovation at the time of the fire. One of its artefacts includes the Crown of Thorns, which some believe was worn by Jesus Christ.

“It took me a little while to learn that the fire was on, and the images were so shocking with this fire crumbling down. When you see this image of Paris on fire, it was really impressive, shocking.” Herbert commented.

In light of what the French president described as a natural tragedy, the mood at the Monte Carlo Masters was somewhat different to that of before. Tennis was not the only main talking point at the tournament. Despite its name, the event isn’t actually held in Monte Carlo. Its home is in Roquebrune-Cap-Martin in the extreme South East of France.

“It is something that is really sad for the French people, but also for everybody, for the whole world, actually, because this was a monument that was well known all over the world.” Jo-Wilfried Tsonga said after retiring injured from his first round match.
“It was really special in Paris, therefore in France, so we are really proud of that monument. We are really sad of what happened yesterday.”

Gilles Simon, who is one of only two Frenchman left in the tournament alongside Herbert, also spoke about the fire.

“Like everybody else, I was really sad. That’s it. And of course I saw the images, and it’s a real pity.” He said.

Officials are still assessing the extent of the damage caused by the fire. In the meantime, donors around the world have pledged millions to help with the restoration of the building and national governments have lent their support.

https://twitter.com/GuillaumeDaudin/status/1118180980341334017

 

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