Why we need to ‘stay the hell out of’ de Minaur’s way
FORMER world No. 1 Mats Wilander has urged tennis types to "stay the hell out of" Alex de Minaur's way and let the teenage sensation develop his own way.
Claiming de Minaur boasts more on-court intensity than Rafael Nadal and Lleyton Hewitt, Wilander says the 19-year-old is something special and mustn't be over- coached.
"He's more alert than the two of them," Wilander said in a gushing appraisal of Australia's big new hope.
"He's more energised, more positive. It's all the time.
"I think sometimes Rafa and Lleyton were manufactured a little bit because it is good body language to do that, whereas he's obviously raw.
"He's unbelievably quick around the court with a good attitude around the court and with consistent strokes that don't look like anybody else's.
"Yes, he's going to get far, for sure.
"I'm very impressed. Very impressed."
De Minaur has stunned the tennis world with his meteoric rise up the rankings this year to be the second-youngest player in the world's top 50. His electrifying display in a dramatic five-set third-round loss to three-times grand slam finalist and 2014 US Open champion Marin Cilic was the talk of Flushing Meadows on Sunday.
Coached by Adolfo Gutierrez and mentored by Australian Davis Cup captain Lleyton Hewitt, the Sydney-born, Spain-raised talent doesn't need to change anything to be a success, according to Wilander.
"Whatever he has now seems to be working," the seven-times grand slam champion said.
"In general, I think people need to stay the hell out of him, out of his way, and let him develop in his own way and at his own pace.
"Let him develop the way he wants to play tennis and the way he thinks is smart.
"The biggest mistake we usually tend to make with young players is over- coaching.
"With his spirit and the way that he plays, which is pretty uncomplicated because he's so flat from both sides, take it and run with it."
Runner-up to Denis Shapovalov in the 2016 junior Wimbledon final, de Minaur is fourth in the ATP's Next Generation Race to Milan rankings behind only the Canadian prodigy, Greek star Stefanos Tsitsipas and world No. 4 Alexander Zverev.
"Where you put him with Shapovalov and Tsitsipas, it's hard to say," Wilander said.
"I would say both of them would probably dislike playing him because of the style he plays.
"He hits the ball flat and they have big top spin on both sides, long swings. "So I think he's coming with the right style for that generation for sure."