Rafael Nadal’s big praise for Australian Alex de Minaur ahead of United Cup match

Tennis legend Rafael Nadal won’t be taking Australian Alex de Minaur lightly when the two face off in the United Cup on Monday night. 

Both Spain and Australia lost their opening ties against Great Britain and are now playing for pride, not progression out of their group.

Nadal and De Minaur were beaten by Cameron Norrie in their first matches of the tournament with Nadal winning the first set before losing 3-6 6-3 6-4. De Minaur, meanwhile, lost in straight sets 6-3 6-3.

Despite their disappointing starts to the new season, they will be hoping to bounce back in Sydney with a big crowd expected. 

MORE: United Cup schedule, results and group standings

Nadal himself is expecting a tough contest against De Minaur, who he has beaten in their three previous matches but hasn’t played against since January 2020. 

“He’s a great player. Playing super fast. Playing with very high intensity. Taking the ball very early. Improved the serve,” Nadal said of De Minaur. 

“Going to be another very tough match that I need to play very well in to have any chance. So let’s see.”

With Nick Kyrgios and Ajla Tomljanovic both missing for Australia, Spain will go into the tie as favourites with Paula Badosa looming as a tough opponent on the women’s side. 

De Minaur will be hoping to give the Aussies a strong start though when he aims for his first career win over Nadal. 

“It’s a great opportunity. I’ve got two great matches. Norrie and Nadal. It’s a great test for me,” he said pre-tournament. 

“I’m excited to put myself out there. It’s going to be great to play on home ground.” 

Rafael Nadal vs Alex de Minaur head-to-head results

Date Competition Winner Score
July 7, 2018 Wimbledon Nadal 6-1 6-2 6-4
January 18, 2019 Australian Open Nadal 6-1 6-2 6-4
January 11, 2020 ATP Cup Nadal 4-6 7-5 6-1

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