June 21, 2021
Eastbourne, England, UK
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. Coming into Eastbourne obviously after a really strong week at Queen's, how are you feeling on the grass and how things are going over here in the UK?
ALEX de MINAUR: Look, I'm very happy with my week in Queen's. I feel like I have been gradually improving every week on the grass. Very happy with where my level is at.
The grass season is always one of my favorite parts of the year. I'm definitely enjoying my time in the UK.
Q. You have had good success on the grass before. Why do you feel like it suits your game well?
ALEX de MINAUR: I have always enjoyed the grass. I think it suits my game. I'm able to be a bit more aggressive. I'm able to use my movement and try to sneak in and come to the net a lot. Yeah, I just always like the quicker-paced courts.
Q. Obviously not the finest weather today, but can you talk about your hopes for the week at Eastbourne and what you like about this tournament?
ALEX de MINAUR: Yes. Hopefully the biggest thing is that we don't get too much rain this week. That would be great. Now, I have come here before, this is my second time, so hopefully I can come out and have another good week and be able to have the best prep for Wimby. The plan is to go out there and try to bring my best level and hopefully go deep.
Q. Just wondering how you feel your chances are going into Wimbledon next week.
ALEX de MINAUR: Yeah, I mean, I'm very -- I'm happy with where my level is at. I think there are still places to improve. But, you know, I like the way I'm kind of peaking towards Wimbledon, because that's definitely the important week for me.
And, yeah, I'm hoping I can have a big crack there. It's a surface that suits me, and I have been playing some good tennis. Hopefully I can go deep. That's the plan, at least.
Q. Your coach is Lleyton, isn't he? He's obviously the last man to break the stranglehold of the big four, if you include Andy Murray. Obviously he's had his injury problems in recent years. What advice has he been giving you as a coach? He knows what it's like to go all the way there.
ALEX de MINAUR: Yeah, look, I've got my coach, Adolfo Gutierrez, and Lleyton has been an unbelievable mentor to me. He's helped me out a lot, has always given me a lot of advice. And, yeah, look, he's also my Davis Cup captain.
Yeah, he's just basically told me to believe in myself and to go out there. You know, I feel like I'm gradually getting better and better. That's the plan. That's what I have always been working on to continuously improve and keep knocking on those doors, because that's where I want to be.
Q. When we think of Lleyton, we think of incredible mental strength as he was as a player. You said just there he's talked to you about believing in yourself. Can you give a bit more insight into how he's imparting that particular side of the game, the mental side? I think for particularly fans over in England, obviously he was an excellent, excellent player -- you have to be as a Grand Slam winner -- but I think his mental toughness was often what we sort of associate most with him. Can you tell me about how he's been trying to impart that into your game?
ALEX de MINAUR: Well, look, I think in a way we have got some similarities in the sense that we are not the biggest, strongest guys out there, so we have to rely on other aspects of our games to try to compete against these top guys.
Look, that's why I'm constantly trying to adapt, be versatile, find different ways of winning matches, because I can't rely on me serving aces or hitting winners like I would love to. So I feel like there we are pretty similar.
Obviously that's where the mental side of things comes. You know, you want to be tough, you want to be out there every single match you step on court and make sure that the people in the locker room know you as that guy who is never going to give up, is always going to be up for the battle, and if you want to beat him you have to play your best tennis.
Q. How do you view the men's side of things this year? Obviously Rafa is not playing. Roger keeps going, but Djokovic looks like the man to beat. For such a long time we have been wondering if this amazing group right at the top of the men's game, has dominated for so long, can't forever, but wondering how long it's going to last for. Do you get a sense that, as I said, that stranglehold over the top of the men's game for so long, there is room maybe this year for someone to emerge and break into that?
ALEX de MINAUR: Yeah, like, I feel like we have obviously got Medvedev at 2 in the world, we've got Thiem, Zverev, Tsitsipas, they are definitely knocking on those doors and beating these top guys in these tournaments.
When it comes to winning the Grand Slams, obviously we have had Novak win the last couple. Look, I think we're getting closer and closer. I know everyone out there is gunning to be the next Grand Slam champ and to try to make that big step.
All the players are out there, they are doing everything they can to make that step, and, you know, take over.
Q. It felt for a long time watching the last, over a decade now, those guys were so almost untouchable. I know we have had the odd slam where someone else has managed to break through, but as one of the younger players coming through in the group that's going to hopefully be battling for these titles over the next sort of few years, decades, does it feel like they aren't as untouchable as they once were and, yeah, we are at that moment I guess where that change could happen?
ALEX de MINAUR: Of course. I think a lot of it is experience, as well. Every time we get to play those matches, we get to learn a lot and improve and lose respect for these type of players, and that's a only good thing, because that means we can go out there and try to play like it's just another match, and more times than not we'll end up playing a better match, and if not win, get really close.
It definitely feels like, you know, time is obviously on our side, and every match, every day that goes by, we have a bit more of a chance. But saying that, you know, it's definitely not done yet. They are bringing up some incredible tennis to this day, so it's going to be completely tough, but I think we're all ready for the challenge.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports