Newfound believer de Minaur ready to vie for Open glory

Finally and firmly believing he can win a grand slam, Alex de Minaur is in beast summer training mode to beef up physically in order to compete for Australian Open glory.

Fresh off landing a second Newcombe Medal as Australia's most outstanding tennis performer of the year, de Minaur says cracking the world's top 10 is his top goal for 2024.

After claiming five top-10 scalps, winning his seventh ATP Tour title from four finals, and reaching his maiden Masters 1000 decider and two grand slam second weeks, de Minaur's confidence has soared to unseen levels.

"Look, 2023 was a big year for me, showing that I have the level to beat these top-10 guys," the world No.12 told AAP from his Spanish base on Tuesday.

"In the past, I kind of struggled in that department, that belief aspect.

"I wasn't truly believing that I was going to come out on top, but now I'm walking into these matches knowing I can beat anyone."

The 24-year-old showed that competitive edge with victory over Rafael Nadal at the United Cup and two wins over fellow former world No.1 Daniil Medvedev in the past 14 months.

"I'm looking forward to that stage and playing these guys over five sets," de Minaur said.

"The physicality part of it isn't something that really scares me. I know I've put in the work, and I know I'll be ready.

"More than anything it's a mental battle and I've shown I can do it now. I'm going into these matches with a completely different mindset.

"I've definitely got the game, definitely got the level, the physicality, to be amongst the (grand slam) contenders.

"I've just got prove it. It's about showing what I can do."

Alex de Minaur serves against Rafael Nadal in Sydney.
Alex de Minaur serves during his United Cup triumph over Spanish superstar Rafael Nadal in Sydney.

De Minaur's growing belief comes as much from the Davis Cup star's tight-knit team working relentlessly on muscling up the baseliner's firepower as it does from beating many of the top dogs in 2023.

"I'm currently in week two of my pre-season, so there wasn't a lot of downtime - about three days - after the Davis Cup final. Then it's back to work off the court," he said.

"We're working on trying to get a little bit more strength, to beef up a little bit and work on that aspect of my physicality.

"On the court, just trying to put all these things together to be a little bit more aggressive, trying to dictate a little bit more.

"We're getting to a stage where it feels like everyone on tour is hitting the ball harder and harder, so you've got to adapt and find ways to deal with that.

"We're not complacent with where I am right now. We want to be amongst the top 10 players in the world and play in the second weeks of slams, and really the end of the slam.

"It's a big goal of mine to go deeper in the grand slams next year. I feel like I'll be ready to go on a run."

De Minaur will open his summer at the United Cup, spearheading Australia in the group stages in Perth against Great Britain and defending champions the United States from December 29.

He hopes playing guaranteed matches against world No.10 Taylor Fritz and the 18th-ranked former Wimbledon semi-finalist Cameron Norrie will offer the perfect summer launching pad.

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