‘I’m a Different Player’: How de Minaur Can Take Down Djokovic…

Alex De Minaur crushed by Novak Djokovic in deafening Australian Open  defeat | Sky News Australia

‘I’m a Different Player’: How de Minaur Can Take Down Djokovic

The biggest match of Alex de Minaur’s career has arrived.

Australia’s world No.9, who is up to sixth in the live world rankings, will face Novak Djokovic for the fourth time in his maiden Wimbledon quarter-final, after defeating Frenchman Arthur Fils in four sets on Monday.

This marks de Minaur’s third career Grand Slam quarter-final and his second consecutive one after making the last eight at Roland-Garros last month. Both players are dealing with physical issues, adding another layer of intrigue to this already thrilling matchup.

Djokovic is barely a month removed from knee surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his right knee, which caused him to withdraw before his quarter-final in Paris. He has worn a grey knee brace throughout the tournament.

Meanwhile, de Minaur “jarred” his hip sliding for a forehand against Fils on the first of his two match points and said afterward he felt “a little bit ginger,” but the severity of the injury remains unclear.

The 2024 Wimbledon Journey So Far


  • R1: d James Duckworth 7-6 (7-1), 7-6 (7-3), 7-6 (7-4)
  • R2: d Jaume Munar 6-2, 6-2, 7-5
  • R3: d Lucas Pouille (walkover)
  • R4: d Arthur Fils 6-2, 6-4, 4-6, 6-3


  • R1: d Vit Kopriva 6-1, 6-2, 6-2
  • R2: d Jacob Fearnley 6-3, 6-4, 5-7, 7-5
  • R3: d Alexei Popyrin 4-6, 6-3, 6-4, 7-6 (7-3)
  • R4: d 15-Holger Rune 6-3, 6-4, 6-2

Previous Encounters

De Minaur and Djokovic have met three times before, with only one of those clashes occurring in a Grand Slam: the fourth round of last year’s Australian Open, which Djokovic won in a 6-2, 6-1, 6-2 demolition. The numbers were equally brutal: 26 winners to nine. Djokovic did not face a break point and broke de Minaur six times from 12 opportunities. The Australian won fewer than half the points on his serve.

They met again almost 12 months later in this year’s ATP Cup quarter-finals in Perth. De Minaur, coming off a promising season, exacted revenge on Djokovic, ending his 43-match winning streak in Australia in a stunning 6-4, 6-4 result. This time, de Minaur did not face a break point, but converted two of five himself.

The third match-up was in the Monte-Carlo Masters quarter-finals on clay three months ago, ending in a 7-5, 6-4 victory for Djokovic. De Minaur had more winners (17-12) and unforced errors (26-18), while Djokovic broke the Australian’s serve five times and conceded three breaks himself.

What They Are Doing Well

The numbers from this year’s Wimbledon suggest Djokovic will be very tough to beat. The 37-year-old is landing almost 67% of his first serves and winning 83% of those points, both of which are elite numbers. De Minaur has improved as a server, but his statistics pale in comparison this fortnight. His first-serve percentage is just 53%, and he is winning 75% of those points.

Djokovic is also outperforming de Minaur at the net, winning 78.1% of points compared to 66.7%. The rivals’ respective returning statistics are far closer, and in the Australian’s favor. They are considered the best two returners on the tour. De Minaur is winning an impressive 47.5% of return points at Wimbledon (up from 43% this year), ahead of Djokovic’s 39% (down from 42%).

How de Minaur Can Beat Djokovic

De Minaur must serve well. Asked by this masthead after the first round what his ideal first-serve percentage would be, de Minaur answered he would like to be “closer to the 60% mark.” This is significantly above his season and Wimbledon numbers, but in line with his serving performance in his ATP Cup defeat of Djokovic.

He must absorb significant pressure and avoid repeated extended rallies on his service games. The non-negotiable is de Minaur must find a way to challenge Djokovic on the 24-time Grand Slam champion’s own serve. The numbers tell us that no one’s win percentage on their serve is as good as usual when they come up against de Minaur, even when they beat him.

Djokovic’s ex-coach, Australian Craig O’Shannessy, who also worked with Alexei Popyrin and Jan-Lennard Struff, wrote an excellent analysis for this masthead on de Minaur’s improved forehand, which has traditionally been a weakness. Djokovic will undoubtedly target that wing, so de Minaur will have to hold up on that side and keep him away from the net as much as possible while staying aggressive.

What They Said

Alex de Minaur: “I don’t think you need to talk too much about Novak here at Wimbledon. He’s obviously achieved greatness many, many years, so he’s going to be a tough battle. But [these are] the types of battles that I want to be playing [to] show what I can do.

“I played Novak once in a slam. It’s fair to say it was quite a challenge. I’m looking forward to this match-up next time around. I think I’m a different player. I’m definitely looking forward to the challenge.”

Novak Djokovic: “He probably is the quickest mover we have on the tour. He has improved so much in the last year-and-a-half. I played him in the fourth round of Australian Open last year, [and] I played a terrific match. But from that match until today, watching his progress, seeing him get into the top 10, is not a surprise.

“He’s always had that speed. He’s always had that incredible defense and really crafty hands on all the surfaces, particularly the quicker ones … I think his serve became a weapon. That maybe wasn’t the case before. He takes the ball so early, [and] he’s not afraid to come to the net. He’s a great all-around player.”