He’s inspired by Roger Federer and idolises Lleyton Hewitt and now Australian teenager Alex De Minaur has the chance to join the two tennis greats on the Wimbledon honour roll.
De Minaur will play Canadian fifth seed Denis Shapovalov in Sunday’s (AEST) boys’ singles final at the All England Club after confirming his status as one of the game’s hottest talents.
Sydney-born Spain-based De Minaur has cut a swathe through the draw, wiping out French Open runner-up Felix Auger-Aliassime and second seed Ulises Blanch en route to the championship match.
It’s the 17-year-old’s deepest run at a grand slam after making the last four in New York and Melbourne and he says it’s an honour to have had Hewitt watching his every match from the stands.
“It’s always good because whenever he says anything I can sort of hear it and know it’s him,” De Minaur said.
“It’s been just great to have his insight, especially such a legend like he is.
“He’s encouraging me, supporting me on court, and it’s pretty special to look on the sidelines and see Lleyton supporting me.”
Nominating Federer as his all-time favourite, De Minaur is one win away from joining the Swiss master as a Wimbledon junior champion.
But his ultimate goal is to win the gentleman’s singles just like Federer and the Australian Davis Cup captain.
“Lleyton’s always been like a role model for me and I also love the elegance of Roger, I’ve always loved it,” he said.
“They’ve always been my two favourite players and I really aspire to be able to achieve what they have done.”
De Minaur is bidding to become the first Australian to win the junior singles at the All England Club since Luke Saville and Ashleigh Barty completed the double in 2011.
Todd Reid (2002), Pat Cash (1982) and John Alexander (1968) are other Australians to have won junior singles titles at the All England Club, while Nick Kyrgios has won the boys’ doubles twice, including in 2013 with Thanasi Kokkinankis.