De Minaur earns Newcombe honour as he looks to convert strong year into grand slam glory

Alex de Minaur will head into the Australian Open as a dual Newcombe Medal winner after being rewarded for his most consistent season yet with Australian tennis’s highest individual honour.

De Minaur claimed the award outright for the first time on Monday night, after previously sharing the 2018 award with Ash Barty and he joins some of the greats of Australian tennis as a multiple winner.

The 24-year-old won the award, named after tennis great John Newcombe, ahead of Storm Hunter, Rinky Hijikata, Alexei Popyrin, Matt Ebden and Max Purcell.

The world No.12 joins five-time Newcombe Medallist Barty, three-time recipient Samantha Stosur and wheelchair wizard Dylan Alcott among those to have won the award at least twice.

Your 2023 Newcombe Medallist, Alex de Minaur ????#Newks23

— TennisAustralia (@TennisAustralia) December 11, 2023

“I’m very sad that I wasn’t able to attend the Newcombe Medal this year and I’m extremely grateful for this amazing award,” de Minaur said in a video message from his training base in Spain.

“It’s been a great year, not only for myself, but for all of Australian tennis and I think we should (all be) very proud indeed.

“(I) would also like to thank Newk. Wish I could shake your hand right now and be there, but I appreciate everything you do for Australian tennis.”

De Minaur’s recognition comes off the back of soaring to the cusp of the world’s top 10 in 2023.

The 24-year-old reached a career-high No.11 in October, collected his seventh ATP Tour title in Acapulco, made four finals and helped Australia to a second straight Davis Cup decider in Spain.

That included a brilliant fightback in the quarter-final win over the Czech Republic.

In his most consistent season, de Minaur also became the first Australian since his idol and Davis Cup captain Lleyton Hewitt in 2004 to progress to 11 tournament quarter-finals.

He made the second week at two of the four grand slams, in Melbourne and New York.

De Minaur is Australia’s biggest hope at Melbourne Park in January, when he will attempt to better his fourth-round appearances in 2022 and 2023.

Alicia Molik’s moment ????

Alicia Molik has been honoured with the Spirit of Tennis Award at Monday night’s Australian Tennis Awards.

— TennisAustralia (@TennisAustralia) December 11, 2023

Earlier in the evening, Alicia Molik was awarded the Spirit of Tennis award.

During her career, Molik rose to world No.8 in singles and No.6 in doubles and she was also a Fed Cup representative from 1999.

After her playing career, Molik, 42, went on to lead Australia to the Billie Jean King Cup final as captain in 2019 at Perth and in 2022 at Glasgow.

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