SYDNEY: Australian tennis player Alex de Minaur feels that there is no greater honour than to represent the country as he gets ready for the inaugural United Cup.
When the World No. 24 found out about the United Cup launching in Australia this summer, he didn't have to think twice about signing up.
"For me, there is no greater honour than to represent your country. It's another chance, another opportunity to do everything I can to hopefully get a win for Australia. I'll make sure I'm ready to go and ready to give it my all," Alex de Minaur was quoted as saying by ATP.
De Minaur got an early look at conditions on Ken Rosewall Arena during a practice session under the watchful eye of Tony Roche on Friday.
Australia has landed in a strong Group D, alongside Spain and Great Britain, for the round-robin stage of the mixed team event.
"It's going to be great for us to really test ourselves and have great matches before the Australian Open. It's going to be tough, but we like being the underdogs. Hopefully we can push each other, have each other's backs, come out with some great tennis and make Australia proud," said De Minaur, who won a career-high 47 singles matches this season.
Australia performed strongly in team competitions during 2022, reaching the finals of both the Billie Jean King Cup and Davis Cup for the first time in almost three decades. De Minaur believes these results prove that Australia is a United Cup contender.
"(We have) shown how tough we are, how much it means to play for Australia and how much pride we have in representing the green and gold.We might not have people in the top 20, but we are still out there making finals in both Billie Jean King Cup and the Davis Cup," he said.
De Minaur is also thrilled that the Australian team is competing in his birth city of Sydney.
"I'm looking forward to being back in Sydney, back on the courts I grew up on. It will be good to play in front of an Aussie crowd again," said the 23-year-old.
"To get the chance to represent our country here at home in Australia is going to be great. It would obviously mean a lot if we can do some damage and take home the title, especially in front of our home crowd," he added.
De Minaur admits there are some nerves about the prospect of playing mixed doubles.
"That would definitely be a new thing for me. I'd be potentially making my debut on the mixed doubles court. Who knows if that will happen? We've got a lot of great options on the team, so we'll keep our opponents guessing until the last second," the Australian explained.
Regardless of whether he is selected to play mixed doubles or not, De Minaur is excited to join Australia's top-ranked women in a team environment for the first time.
"It should be a lot of fun. Us Aussies tend to stick together throughout the year anyway. This will be an even bigger chance for us to have each other's backs and really be a tight-knit group. I think that's the whole basis for a team to do well, so we'll definitely be very strong in the team chemistry aspect," he said.