Australian men’s No.1 Alex de Minaur insists he’s primed to handle an early Melbourne Park hurdle in former world No.3 Milos Raonic as he eyes a deep run in his home grand slam. While de Minaur attempts to avoid an early banana skin, women’s leading local hope Ajla Tomljanovic believes she can be dangerous and spark some fear in the Australian Open’s early rounds. Watch every Australian Open match ad-free, live & on demand with centre court in 4K Ultra-HD on the home of Grand Slam tennis, Stan Sport.
World No.10 de Minaur could have counted himself unlucky to draw big-serving Canadian Raonic, who entered the Open with a protected ranking, first-up. But the easygoing Australian is relishing the early test. “Ultimately I had a feeling it was going to be a tough match coming up. When I drew Milos, it was basically that,” de Minaur said. “He’s a very tricky opponent, the type of person that can take the racquet out of your hand. Obviously has an unbelievable serve and is very aggressive. Tough match, but yet again, I’m excited to play. I’m playing some good tennis. I’ll be ready for the challenge.”
When asked how he planned to counter Raonic’s big serve, a smiling de Minaur quipped: “Well, guess the right way. Ultimately he’s got one of the best serves on tour, so it’s going to be very difficult to kind of get a read on that serve. If the opportunity is there, just go for it.”
Countrywoman Tomljanovic is determined to seize her opportunity. “We’ll see if it (the knee rehab) made me mentally tougher. I think it made me want it even more,” she said. “Yeah, there’s a lot of resilience that took place in 2023. It for sure will pay off.”