Alex de Minaur accepts that he might be Nick Kyrgios’s “boring” antithesis but it doesn’t stop him dreaming of the spotlight that always swallows his madcap mate.
There was a touch of deja vu for Australia’s No.1 de Minaur on Tuesday as he swept confidently through his first-round match on No.1 court while nobody at Wimbledon seemed to notice.
Everyone seemed far too engrossed in the noisy, spittle-flecked, umpire-berating dramas surrounding the second-ranked Aussie Kyrgios out on court 3.
Watch the latest sport on Channel 7 or stream for free on 7plus >>
“It’s nothing new. I’ve been in this position for a while now,” sighed de Minaur, not that he was complaining about being the forgotten man.
“Nothing’s changed. Nick’s always going to be, and not only in Australia, one of the most talked about players out there and I’ve kind of accepted that.
“He’s good for tennis, he sells out courts. It’s entertainment, right?
“I just try to focus on my side of things – I’ve got my own journey, my own world. I’m just more of the kind of head-down, tunnel-vision, try to do my stuff the best I can.”
First things first. De Minaur is a good mate of Kyrgios and doesn’t have a bad word to say about the controversy magnet.
“We have some great memories together – ATP Cup, Davis Cup. Actually, it’s great to see Nick back where he is,” said the Sydneysider.
“It’s a very genuine feeling just seeing him being back, looking like he’s happy on the court.
“I think he’s got a great balance, and whatever he’s changed or done, or whatever’s gone through his head, he looks as if he’s happy and enjoying it.
“At times, I envy that because he seems to have everything quite balanced out and I think he’s done an incredible job of doing that.
“And as you can see in his tennis, he looks relaxed, like he’s playing back to his level. And that’s great, not just for Australian tennis but also for tennis in general.”
But despite all that, 19th seed de Minaur, who faces a tough second-round match against rising British star Jack Draper on Thursday, admits he covets the limelight that Kyrgios is bound to grab again when he plays Serbian 26th seed Filip Krajinovic.
Asked by AAP if he could imagine his name being up on lights like Kyrgios one day, he admitted: “It’s part of the plan, it’s the goal ultimately.
“To get to a point ultimately where my tennis is enough for the spotlight, where I let my tennis do the talking, and due to my results and my level, I’m in the spotlight.
“I don’t know whether I’ll ever be in the spotlight due to off-court stuff, to be quite honest.
“I feel, in that sense, I might be a bit boring, in that I probably won’t get into trouble and do all these other things.
“I’d rather let my tennis do all the talking – and if I’m going to be in the spotlight, it’s because of my tennis, not for anything else …”