ALEX DE MINAUR will have to play “match of his life” to beat Rafael Nadal at Wimbledon today but fellow Australian Sam Groth reckons there are weaknesses he can exploit.
De Minaur beat No 29 seed Marco Cecchniato in the first round before knocking out France’s Pierre-Hugues Herbert to reach the third round of a Grand Slam for the very first time.
The Australian could hardly have been handed a tougher draw than a first ever meeting with Nadal, but Groth thinks that if the teenager is getting right advice, De Minaur has a slim chance of an upset.
“I played him at the French Open and didn’t come close but what Rafa does well on clay doesn’t necessarily translate to grass,” Groth wrote in his column for Australian publication Herald Sun.
“You have to be able to rush his forehand, not give him time to get around the hit.
“If you can do that and get him hitting early he won’t get the force.
“If you can rush Rafa not just during points but between points as well, you break up his rhythm and he’s rattled.
“If someone isn’t in Alex’s ear explaining all this to him they’re missing a very big trick.
Lleyton Hewitt's advice will be key for Alex De Minaur
“Alex’s attitude will also serve him well when it comes to handling the occasion.
“He fires up from the first ball of the match and makes every point count - he’s learnt that from the work he does with Lleyton Hewitt."
Hewitt will be courtside providing invaluable support from De Minaur's box - the retired former world No 1 beat Nadal four times in their 11 meetings.
“Alex will have to play the match of his life but he has nothing to lose," Groth also wrote.
“You play your whole career for these moments.
“I remember walking out onto Centre Court to play the then world No 1 Roger Federer in 2015 and it’s so much more than just another round match.
“It’s so much bigger than anything you do the majority of the season and it’s such an honour.
“So many peers never get the chance. It’s the ultimate fixture in tennis.
“If I had any advice for Alex it would be to go out there and embrace the occasion.
“Remember just how hard you have worked to reach this point. Go out there believing you can win.
“Yes, it is daunting but so long as Alex can overcome any nerves the very worst that could happen is he lives out a career dream.”