Australian tennis superstar Alex de Minaur has made a candid admission about his high-profile relationship with England player Katie Boulter.
The couple have been together for close to four years, but it wasn’t until last year’s Wimbledon when they suddenly became the centre of attention.
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They melted hearts across the world when they teamed up in the mixed doubles tournament at the All England Club.
They lost in the second round, but won plenty of fans with their performances and attitude on the court.
Having spent most of his career out of the spotlight, de Minaur admitted he was surprised by the sudden interest.
Alex de Minaur and Katie Boulter have been together for nearly four years. Credit: Instagram
“It was definitely odd,” De Minaur told The Guardian. “It was my first time ever being followed by paparazzi. That’s something I wasn’t expecting, to the point that they found out where we were staying, and they were waiting for us the following morning.
“That, for me, was incredible to experience, it is something I never thought was possible. And that’s all because of Katie.”
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While the British tabloids had a field day with the glamour couple during Wimbledon, it appears they are set for a similar story at the Australian Open.
Boulter last week described the attention as a “circus”.
“It’s really hard to describe. I mean, I can’t walk down the street with him separately. I feel like I’m sharing him with everyone, which isn’t a bad thing,” she said.
“I think it’s definitely been fun to be a part of because it’s been a little bit of a circus, but a good circus.
“I think it’s awesome that he’s getting the attention that he really does deserve. He’s put the work in for it. He’s playing some of the best tennis of his life.
“It really does fill me with a lot of pride to actually watch him at this moment because I know everything that he’s been through, how hard and how strong he is with everything he does.
“It’s been a pleasure to watch and be a part of it at the same time. I’ll continue to support him with everything that he does, no matter the good and the bad.”
The off-field attention certainly hasn’t had a negative impact on de Minaur with the 24-year-old becoming the first Australian since Lleyton Hewitt to crack the world’s top 10.
Alex de Minaur goes wild after beating Alexander Zverev Credit: AAP
He did that on the back of stunning victories over Novak Djokovic, Alexander Zverev and Taylor Fritz at the United Cup, while he also beat world No.2 Carlos Alcaraz in an exhibition match this week.
He heads into the Australian Open carrying the hopes of the nation, but has been handed a brutal first-round draw against one-time Wimbledon finalist Milos Raonic.
Raonic reached two grand slam semi-finals — including at the 2016 Australian Open — before he played off for the title at the All England Club later that year.
He was ranked inside the top 20 when injuries began to threaten his career in 2021.
The big-serving 33-year-old has played sparingly since but recorded an impressive win over then world No.10 Frances Tiafoe in August last year.
Should de Minaur get past Raonic next week, he will face Matteo Arnaldi or fellow Aussie Adam Walton in the second round.
No.18 seed Nicolas Jarry looms in the third round and de Minaur could begin to face players ranked above him by the fourth round.
No.5 seed Andrey Rublev is a potential opponent there, while No.4 Jannik Sinner, No.1 Novak Djokovic and No.2 Carlos Alcaraz might await in the later rounds.
But they will all hold no fear for the Aussie, who has openly declared he would prefer not to even know his draw.
“It has been a goal of mine for a while to make the deep end of the slams and the bigger tournaments,” de Minaur said at an Asics event on Thursday prior to the draw.
“Hey, why not this Australian Open coming up? I will be ready to go against whoever I’ve got to play.
“It’s no secret that every single person in the draw is a quality player so ultimately whoever I draw it’s going to be a tough match and there’s tough matches all around.”