Alex de Minaur is looking to top last year's second-round showing Alex de Minaur is looking to top last year's second-round showing

De Minaur looking to do damage

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On Saturday night, three-time Grand Slam champion and former world No.1 Andy Murray added his voice to the growing chorus of applause for the exploits of Alex de Minaur. 

And little wonder; ‘The Demon’ has captivated the tennis scene in the past fortnight with his pulsating performances. 

Now his picture is plastered across the back pages and covering the columns online, and his name is booming around the news channels – something the 18-year-old admits is “strange”. 

“I guess when you're a little kid, that's something you aspire to get to. It's crazy that it's happening now,” he said on Sunday at Melbourne Park.

“But it's the same old me. Nothing's going to change. I'm still going to get out there on court and leave it all out there, give it my best.”

I have a little bit of confidence, self-belief. I'm really happy with where my level's at.
Alex de Minaur

De Minaur began 2018 with a semifinal surge in Brisbane, ousting Milos Raonic along the way.

Next came his childhood courts in Sydney, where De Minaur put in a scintillating effort to head into a maiden ATP Final on Saturday. 

At 4-0 down in the decider, De Minaur hauled himself back to 5-5, embodying the relentless on-court endeavour of mentor Lleyton Hewitt.

Next Gen star Daniil Medvedev eventually clinched a 1-6 6-4 7-5 triumph, but the Aussie prodigy will cherish his hometown heroics.

“It was crazy. All the support I got that week was just unbelievable,” added the world No.167. 

“Growing up and hitting on those courts, actually watching that tournament as a spectator, to actually play in the final there, was an incredible experience, a week I'll never forget.”

In Melbourne last year, De Minaur laid the foundations, having defeated Gerald Melzer as a wildcard to reach the main draw second round. 

He’ll hope for another landmark showing in the first round of his home major this year, taking on world No.20 Tomas Berdych on Tuesday. It’s a challenge the teenager is relishing to tackle.

“Every single time I step on court, I'm learning something new. I'm trying to soak it all up. I'm using it to deal with different types of situations,” he said. 

“Against Tomas, it's going to be a very tough match. Then again, I can't wait to get out there. It's going to be fun.

“I want to leave it all out there, compete every point, give myself the best opportunity I can to play well. I think that's the only thing I can ask from myself. Hopefully it's a real good battle. It's going to be fun, I can't wait.”

Berdych has reached the Australian Open semifinals twice, but De Minaur is undeterred – and determined to replicate his recent soaring form.

“I have a little bit of confidence, self-belief,” he said. 

“I'm really happy with where my level's at, at the moment. I'm just trying to continue to ride this wave.”