Alex de Minaur ready to face off against tennis great Novak Djokovic in United Cup clash

Alex de Minaur expresses his anticipation to test his skills against the legendary Novak Djokovic in the quarter-final match of the United Cup in Perth on Wednesday night.

The men’s singles match-up between de Minaur and Djokovic is anticipated to be one of the most significant clashes in this $US10 million ($A15 million) mixed-teams event.

In the fourth round of the Australian Open last year, Djokovic defeated de Minaur 6-2 6-1 6-2. However, after a dominant 6-4 6-2 victory over world No 10 Taylor Fritz on Monday, de Minaur’s confidence has received a tremendous boost ahead of his re-match with Djokovic.

De Minaur regards Djokovic, a 24-time grand slam champion and still the world No 1 at 36 years of age, as the greatest men’s player ever, surpassing Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer.

“It is no secret that Novak’s level is incredible, and honestly, he is probably the GOAT,” de Minaur stated. “He has had a strong start to the year. It will be extremely difficult, but it is a challenge that I am eager to take on and hopefully demonstrate what I am capable of.”

Djokovic encountered a scare on Tuesday when he injured his wrist during practice. However, the star veteran overcame the injury to help lead Serbia to a 2-1 victory over the Czech Republic, and he is confident about his fitness to face de Minaur.

In the women’s singles, three-time grand slam quarter-finalist Ajla Tomljanovic will compete against world No 121 Olga Danilovic.

If the tie reaches a live mixed doubles match, Australia will hold a significant advantage with the formidable duo of Matt Ebden and Storm Hunter. Hunter is the world No 1 in women’s doubles, while Ebden ranks No 4 in the men’s category.

The pair is unbeaten in this year’s United Cup and plans to team up in all four grand slams and potentially the Olympics.

De Minaur further added, “As a doubles player and mixed doubles player, that’s all I could ask for.”

In the other United Cup quarter-final, top seeds Poland will face China. The men’s singles match will be between Hubert Hurkacz and Zhizhen Zhang, followed by a face-off between world No 1 Iga Swiatek and Qinwen Zheng.

Meanwhile, in the warm-up event for the Australian Open, wildcard Rinky Hijikata and journeyman Jordan Thompson emerged victorious in two all-Australian matches at the Brisbane International.

Hijikata’s win over Thanasi Kokkinakis sets him up to face Czech qualifier Tomas Machac in the quarter-finals.

Thompson’s impressive victory against Aleksandar Vukic secures him a second-round match against either French fourth seed Ugo Humbert or American qualifier Alex Michelsen.

Despite a rain delay, Duckworth continues his strong run from qualifying and advances to the second round of the weather-marred Australian Open lead-up event.

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