February 11, 2021
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
A. de MINAUR/P. Cuevas
6-3, 6-3, 7-5
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. Talk us through that win tonight, please.
ALEX de MINAUR: Well, very happy. It's not an easy match to play. I felt like I went out there and I stuck to the game plan and was very focused throughout.
A little misstep in the third set, but I managed to bounce back really quickly, so very happy with my overall performance and how I was mentally.
Q. How happy are you back playing in Australia? Just tell us what it means to have this opportunity after what you went through at the Open last year.
ALEX de MINAUR: Yeah, it's amazing. Look, all the work you put in is for this tournament. You have the preseason, and you want to just show off your best tennis in front of your home crowd. Your home slam is always that one tournament you mark in the calendar which you want to perform in.
Look, it wasn't easy last year, but I think I have used what I felt, you know, during all those stages last year to kind of fuel the hunger that I've got in the belly for this year around, and I'm very happy to be here and play in front of an amazing crowd again.
Q. In one sense, are you making up for last year, as well?
ALEX de MINAUR: Yeah, of course. You know, hindsight, 2020 wasn't a horrible year. Actually I had my best result in a slam. I finished the year 23. There is a lot of positives to find. But for what I had, you know, encountered or what I was ready for, it felt a bit disappointing.
Look, I'm trying to make 2021 everything 2020 wasn't. Look, I'm very happy where I am right now. I'm happy with the things I'm doing, how I'm feeling on court, and hopefully I can make up for 2020 in my eyes.
Q. Specifically for the Australian Open?
ALEX de MINAUR: Yes, of course. I mean, I've got to fill that void that I missed last year. It was not ideal having to pull out, having to come out here to the tournament, do my media and tell everyone that I was pulling out. I mean, that's not a position I want to ever be in again. Touch wood that doesn't happen.
Yeah, I'm making up for last year. I'm enjoying my time on court, and hopefully I can prolong it and keep playing some great tennis, because this is where I want to be.
Q. Misstep in the third set, did he step up his game? How would you describe what happened?
ALEX de MINAUR: Well, I think I had a couple of chances to break him in the first game, and then later on I had another two breakpoints and didn't quite get there.
Then I didn't -- you know, it was a combination. He played a good game. I missed a couple of balls that I hadn't probably missed in the whole match, and then, you know, I'm down a break in the third. It could have been prolonged to play a fourth set.
I'm very happy I managed to bounce back straightaway and not let it affect me and play some of my best tennis to turn it around and finish off in three sets.
Q. You raised it on court, and it certainly has been noticed with the extra bits of bling and the bracelets and the watch and the necklace. When did all that change? Is that here to stay?
ALEX de MINAUR: Well, I've got a cross which I have had with me my whole life, basically my career. Then I've got another, this one, which is the Tree of Life which I got given by my coach's mum, and this is a special meaning because it's something that you don't buy it for yourself. It's something you're supposed to be given to, and it's for, you know, a life of luck, happiness, and fulfillment.
Well, you know, obviously TAG hooking me up, and I'm ready to go. And, you know, I have always had this one. I just added one more.
It's not really my thing. It's just a couple things about it, but it's nothing crazy. Don't you worry, I'm not the type to go overboard. That's for sure.
Q. Next opponent, tricky one with Fabio.
ALEX de MINAUR: Yep. It's a quality opponent. I mean, Fabio has been up there for a very long time. He's back to playing his best tennis. He showed it at ATP Cup.
Look, it's going to be a very tough one, but I'm happy to be in the third round. I'm happy to be back competing in the Australian Open in front of my home crowd, and I'm just going to enjoy every second of it.
Q. Have you ever come close to fisticuffs with an opponent?
ALEX de MINAUR: No, I wouldn't say so. I would say my temperament on the court is a bit more calm and chill, I like to stay to myself a bit and try to focus on my side of the court.
Q. You didn't see what happened this evening?
ALEX de MINAUR: No. I heard about it but I actually haven't seen it, like, I haven't seen a thing. I have heard from different players and sources that there was an altercation, but I haven't actually seen footage, so I'm not sure.
Q. Can you describe what message you hope this tournament sends to the world by taking place and having fans in attendance?
ALEX de MINAUR: Well, if this tournament can send any message is that, you know, thanks to all the hard work Australians have put in to make sure this country is one of the safest countries in the world and now we are able to play a Grand Slam with crowds, and it's truly amazing. It's a feeling we have missed as tennis players, and I'm sure the crowd has missed watching live sports, as well.
Look, there is hope, and, you know, we will get there. It's a matter of time.
Q. You're pretty hard on yourself sometimes, especially after defeats, et cetera. Do you have people in your camp that are trying to curb that attitude of yours?
ALEX de MINAUR: Yes (smiling). Look, I am my biggest critic and I always will be. That's something that's not gonna change.
It is true that at times I'm probably too hard on myself, and that can affect me not in a positive way.
But I also believe that for this fact that's what drives me into constantly want to improve. I'm never satisfied with where I'm at. I'm never satisfied with my level. I always want to keep improving and keep pushing myself.
But I do have a great team around me that kind of puts things in perspective when maybe I don't want to really look at that side of things (smiling).
But, yeah, look, it's just who I am. I have learned to live with myself, and I've got my team who can always point me in the right direction if I'm not looking at it.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports