De Minaur pumped for grand slam return

Australian No.1 Alex de Minaur says he can't wait to make his grand slam comeback at the US Open on Wednesday morning.

ALEX DE MINAUR of Australia in action against Taylor Fritz of USA in the group stages during the Next Gen ATP Finals at Fiera Milano Rho in Milan, Italy.
ALEX DE MINAUR of Australia in action against Taylor Fritz of USA in the group stages during the Next Gen ATP Finals at Fiera Milano Rho in Milan, Italy. Picture: Julian Finney/Getty Images

Alex de Minaur plans on generating his own buzz when he makes his long-awaited grand slam return at the fan-free US Open on Wednesday.

The Australian No.1 takes on Slovakian Andrej Martin on Court 11 at Flushing Meadows, where the ghost-town feel from COVID-19 restrictions is a far cry from the electric atmosphere normally generated by world tennis's rowdiest spectators.

De Minaur usually thrives feeding off the energy of the New York crowd but will instead play in front of empty stands in his first slam since charging to the fourth round of last year's US Open.

"You've got to make your own energy," he told AAP from inside his New York bubble on Monday.

"You've got to make sure you focus. You're not going to have any fans out there so you draw on your own energy and that's going to be all mental."

After a hot start to 2020, in which he upended fellow young guns Alexander Zverev and Denis Shapovalov at the ATP Cup, de Minaur missed the Australian Open with a torn abdominal muscle.

He's been largely holed up at his Spanish base ever since, the 21-year-old ball of energy feeling like a caged lion while riding out the coronavirus-forced shutdown of the tour.

"Definitely pumped and ready to get things going again. Safe to say I'm over all the practice," de Minaur said.

"It's been pretty tough, especially considering I didn't get to play match tennis as I would have loved to this year with my injuries so it was always tough just sitting out and having to wait for the whole tour to resume again.

"But, look, it helped out my body for me and my team to get myself at a state where we were very happy and now I'm just ready to go out there and compete."

The No.21 seed, who lost to Grigor Dimitrov after his career-best grand slam run last year, should be untroubled against the 98th-ranked Martin.

As ever, though, he's treating his opponent with due respect.

"We know we have a tough match ahead. He's a very solid player," de Minaur said.

"There's definitely a lot of eagerness to get out there. I've always played some great tennis over here and I'm just looking forward to getting out there and hopefully playing a good first round and then see from there."

Fellow Sydneysiders James Duckworth and Chris O'Connell, as well as 2018 quarter-finalist John Millman, open their campaigns on day two.

AUSSIES IN ACTION ON DAY TWO OF THE US OPEN ON WEDNESDAY AEST:

Men's singles, first round

Chris O'Connell v Laslo Djere (SRB) - approximately 6am

21-Alex de Minaur v Andrej Martin (SVK) - approximately 8am

John Millman v 22-Nikoloz Basilashvili (GEO) - approximately 9am

James Duckworth v Salvatore Caruso (ITA) - approximately 9am