A provisional career-high ranking and freedom to play without pressure will accompany Alex de Minaur into a forbidding French Open second-round confrontation.
De Minaur was ecstatic after ending a three-month drought with an impressive straight-sets win over American Bradley Klahn, the tyro’s first main draw success at Roland Garros.
Having struggled with groin soreness since February, the Australian 21st seed is excited simply to be back – even if it means facing Spanish claycourter Pablo Carreno Busta for a place in the third round.
“It’s going to be a battle,” de Minaur said.
“But I feel like I have taken that sort of burden off my shoulders of getting that first win, and now I can sort of go in a bit more relaxed and just enjoy myself out there.
“And I know it’s going to be a very physically demanding match, but very happy with how the body felt out there and how it’s going to recover for the following match.”
“To be able to finally sort of end this drought I’ve been having…it hasn’t been easy,” he said.
“And I really felt like I needed a win just for me personally and mentally.
“And I did everything that I had to do for the last couple weeks.
“Things hadn’t really gone my way, but it’s good to see the results finally get back. And to be back 100 percent, that’s the main thing.
“It was my first time having to deal with an injury like this.
“You get told what you’re supposed to expect, and you just got to feel it for yourself.
“It’s definitely way harder than people tell you, because you expect a certain level from yourself and you can’t really get there because of your body and lack of confidence, and all these things just seem to pile up.
“But I’ve just been staying positive.
“And I’ve been looking at how my level has been improving and my body has been feeling better and better, and now I’m back.”
Beaten in the first round here last year by Kyle Edmund, world No 24 de Minaur has the chance to climb into the top 20 here.
With the win over Klahn, he improved one spot to a provisional career-best mark.
This article originally appeared at: https://www.heraldsun.com.au/sport/tennis/french-open-2019-australian-alex-de-minaur-overcomes-early-scare-to-set-up-convincing-opening-win/news-story/228ece4ef72fc70a9e8cb859fe1f71ec