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January 17, 2019

Alex De Minaur

Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

A. de MINAUR/H. Laaksonen

6-4, 6-2, 6-7, 4-6, 6-3

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. How are you feeling? How will you try and recover?
ALEX de MINAUR: I'm actually feeling good. I thought physically I handled the situation really well. I felt like the whole body was feeling good.

I mean, this is why you do the hard work in the pre-season, for matches like this, to be able to feel strong and feel confident in yourself physically. That also helps you out there on court mentally.

Really happy with how the body held up. Now I've just got to focus on recovering and getting ready for my next one. I've got a day off tomorrow, so I'll focus a lot on my body tomorrow. Looking forward to my next one.

Q. It's been a really big week for Australian tennis. How are you adjusting to being in the spotlight, being someone that people expect a lot from?
ALEX de MINAUR: Yeah, it's a different position for me, a position I'm not really used to. It's sort of come out of nowhere. It's been an unbelievable year. I'm enjoying every second of it.

I'm just trying to focus on myself, on going out there on court and competing, having fun. Nothing has changed for me.

Q. Seven wins in a row. How confident are you at the moment heading into Rafael Nadal?
ALEX de MINAUR: Well, I'm obviously playing some great tennis. To be able to get all these wins under my belt definitely helps a lot, to build just that momentum and keep playing some good tennis day in, day out. Obviously against Rafa that's going to be something special.

I got the chance to play him in Wimbledon on Centre Court. I feel like I learnt a lot from that experience. I'm really looking forward to just having fun, going out there and just competing.

Q. About the Wimbledon match, what do you feel you learned? What will you try to do differently?
ALEX de MINAUR: Well, I think a lot of these things is just about experience. I've already stepped out on court and played him, so that whole experience of playing Rafa, that's not new to me any more.

So hopefully this time around I can go a bit more relaxed, just focus on myself, try to play some good tennis.

Q. Rafa is at the stage of his career where playing less is more at this time of year for him. You're coming into it from a different angle, younger, played a lot of matches. Do you think that stands in your favor or counts against you?
ALEX de MINAUR: Well, I think it's very individual. It all depends on the player, whether it's got to do with age, how you're feeling physically, all these things.

That's something that I'm definitely looking at, just trying to have that healthy balance about how many tournaments I play, how much time off I have, how much time training blocks I have.

Having a couple years on tour now, I know where my limit is. I know how my body reacts. According to that, with my team, we've sat down and we've planned accordingly.

I'm really looking forward to the schedule of play I'm playing. It's going to be probably less tournaments than last year, and hopefully more training blocks. I can take good care of that.

Q. Growing up in Spain, I presume you were aware of Rafa early on. What was that like?
ALEX de MINAUR: Well, Rafa is pretty much like the king in Spain. He's done so much amazing things for the sport. He's had that many achievements. It's pretty incredible. It's going to be fun for me to get out on court and be able to test where I am.

I think this is what you play for: to play the biggest guys and the best guys at the top of their level on the biggest stages. You just got to go out there, enjoy, just thrive off the atmosphere.

Q. Given your growing profile in Australia, when you're not here, are you trying to stay out of the public's eye, keep your focus entirely on the tennis? Are you enjoying more and more people recognizing you as you're walking around?
ALEX de MINAUR: Look, honestly I just do the same old things, the same things that I did three years ago, four years ago. Like, I still go have an acai bowl in the morning. I do the same things a 19-year-old kid would do.

I'm very fortunate to be in the position that I am, to be able to play the sport that I love every single day. I'm never taking that for granted. I'm just enjoying every single day.

I'm a chill guy, I like to take it easy.

Q. You've earned the reputation of being a fighter. Does that spur you on to maintain that level or add pressure?
ALEX de MINAUR: I think it's just a given for me. That's something that I expect from myself every time I step out on court, to just leave it all out there, leave 150% out there. That's the bare minimum.

I think that's a very important message, especially that's something you want to be known for. You want the players in the locker room to know you as that kid that fights till the end, has that never-say-die attitude, will compete until the end. That's what you want.

I'm just going to keep on doing that every single time I step out on court.

Q. It was very intense today. Did you expect that? You were controlling the match, then what happened after the third set?
ALEX de MINAUR: Yeah, I came out and played exactly how I wanted to play. I got up two sets to love, playing some good tennis. Then my opponent, he started to light it up. He started to play some unbelievable tennis. Even though I had a match point in the third set, I played a good point, it was a long rally, but he was just too good.

At that stage, I just had to try to weather the storm and stay with him. He was able to blow me off the court. I just had to reset for the fifth set, be positive, fight for every ball.

I was lucky enough to get my chances and to be able to get the win today.

Q. How is your body feeling?
ALEX de MINAUR: Yeah, body's feeling good. I'm still young. I can't complain. I'm doing what I love. It's just another day for me. I'm going to have a nice relaxed day tomorrow, look after the body. I'll be ready for my next round and really excited.

Q. Did you watch Rafa when he won the Australian Open? Do you remember?
ALEX de MINAUR: Yeah, well, you watch that many matches of Rafa, he's won that many Grand Slams. Yeah, I remember that one, watching it. He's still Rafa. I mean, whenever he steps out on court, he always has that presence. No one can take that away from him.

I just got to go out there, try to focus on my side of the court, generally just go out there, have fun, just hopefully take it to him.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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