Alex de Minaur.
Alex de Minaur will get Australia's United Cup campaign under way in Perth in late December. Image by Lukas Coch/AAP PHOTOS
  • tennis

De Minaur in action on day one of summer of tennis

Darren Walton October 25, 2023

Alex de Minaur will be front and centre when the Australian summer of tennis kicks off with the opening sessions of the $15 million United Cup in Perth.

De Minaur has been afforded top billing as Australia take on Great Britain in the opening Group C fixture at RAC Arena on December 29.

The world No.13 is slated to square off with the 18th-ranked former Wimbledon semi-finalist Cameron Norrie, with comeback star Ajla Tomljanovic expected to face de Minaur’s girlfriend Katie Boulter in the women’s singles match.

Alex de Minaur (left) and Cameron Norrie (right).
 Alex de Minaur (l) will face Britain’s Cameron Norrie (r) on the United Cup’s first day, in Perth. Image by Mark Evans/AAP PHOTOS 

Should the two nations split the singles rubbers, the best-of-three-match tie will be decided in the mixed doubles.

With 2022 Wimbledon doubles champion Matt Ebden and the veteran John Millman as well as women’s specialists Storm Hunter and Ellen Perez also at their disposal, Australia boast a raft of formidable mixed options.

Beating Great Britain will be critical to Australia’s chances of progressing to the quarter-finals, with defending champions the USA also in the stacked Group C.

Only the six group winners plus the best runners-up from the Perth and Sydney pool stages will make the last eight.

Australia would need to advance to the semi-finals for big home hope de Minaur to play in front of his beloved Sydney home crowd at Ken Rosewall Arena.

The 24-year-old is fresh off his most consistent season yet on the ATP Tour, reaching 10 quarter-finals, four semis, three finals and winning his seventh career title in 2023.

He claimed six top-10 scalps – including that of world No.10 Taylor Fritz, who is once again spearheading Team USA’s United Cup charge alongside women’s No.3 Jessica Pegula.

Australia do battle with the USA in Perth on New Year’s Day.

Spain, without world No.2 Carlos Alcaraz who is tipped to open his 2024 season in Brisbane, play a yet-to-be-determined qualifying nation in the only other United Cup clash in Perth on December 29.

The action in Sydney starts on December 30, with Norway, featuring three-times grand slam finalist Casper Ruud, taking on the Netherlands in the morning session and Germany playing Italy in the twilight fixture.

Iga Swiatek.
 Four-time grand slam champion Iga Swiatek will lead Poland’s United Cup campaign. Image by James Ross/AAP PHOTOS 

In Perth on day two, top seeds Poland, led by four-time grand slam champion Iga Swiatek and world No.11 Hubert Hurkacz, face a yet-to-be-decided qualifying nation in the twilight session after the Czech Republic and China clash in the morning.

World No.1 and 10-times Australian Open champion Novak Djokovic will spearhead Serbia, who play China in their opening tie in Perth on New Year’s Eve.

The semi-finals and final of the event will be staged in Sydney on January 6 and 7, after a competition-free travel day for the advancing nations from Perth.