11:12 PM GMT November 26, 2018
Alex de Minaur's breakout season received more recognition on Monday. The 19-year-old Aussie was awarded the prestigious Newcombe Medal, Australian tennis' highest honour that's presented annually and named after Aussie legend John Newcombe, who reached No. 1 and captured 34 tour-level titles during his playing career.
De Minaur started the season outside the Top 200 of the ATP Rankings, at No. 208. But he made the biggest jump in the Top 50, finishing the 2018 season at No. 31 and as the top-ranked Aussie. The Sydney native was also voted by his peers as the ATP Newcomer of the Year. De Minaur ended his season by reaching the title match of the Next Gen ATP Finals in Milan (l. to Tsitsipas).
Watch: Uncovered: De Minaur and Hewitt, a Perfect Combination
“This is something I definitely did not expect,” he told Tennis Australia. “It’s been a whirlwind of a year – I’ve enjoyed every second of it. I’ve just tried to keep improving each day, keep battling it out, keep fighting every single point. I’m super proud of my efforts.
“I could not have done it without the great team of guys I’ve got around me. Starting with my coach Adolfo Gutierrez, who’s not here right now. My manager David Drysdale, Phil Bonney, and also got to thank Lleyton Hewitt, who’s been a great mentor of mine and has helped me out a lot, helped me really believe in myself and that I do belong here on the tour.”
De Minaur shared the honour with WTA player Ashleigh Barty, the first time in the award's history (since 2010) it has been jointly awarded. John Millman, who reached a career-high No. 33 in October, and wheelchair tennis player Dylan Alcott were also nominated.