Teenage tennis sensation Alex de Minaur has accused Australian Open organisers of punishing local players who perform well in home tournaments after failing to have his opening-round clash at the grand slam pushed back.
Final fling: Alex de Minaur will face Andreas Seppi in his second consecutive Sydney International decider.Credit:AAP
De Minaur was forced to play two matches in one day at the Sydney International on Saturday, after rain washed away his semi-final against Gilles Simon on Friday night.
Victory over Simon meant the 19-year-old had just a five-hour gap between that match and his final against Andreas Seppi, before flying to Melbourne on Sunday and starting his campaign on Monday afternoon.
De Minaur said it left him disadvantaged ahead of his clash with Portuguese outsider Pedro Sousa on Monday, and into the rest of the tournament.
‘‘What is more annoying is me having to play Monday at the Australian Open and not getting helped out as a fellow Aussie at your home slam,’’ de Minaur said.
‘‘I think they are punishing Aussies for playing deep in their home tournaments and I think that’s not what they should be doing.’’
De Minaur is one of the few big names playing in the Sydney tournament the week before the Open, with only four of the world’s top-30 playing at the event and another six playing in Auckland.
Australia’s top-ranked men’s player as world No.29, de Minaur’s opening match in Melbourne is the third scheduled at Margaret Court Arena.
Asked if he had asked to have the match pushed back, de Minaur replied: ‘‘Yeah.’’
‘‘They came out with the schedule before they even saw the halves or saw who was in the final in the weeks prior. I think that is pretty poor.’’
The reality is though that any change would have forced further complications with the draw.
De Minaur was drawn on the bottom half of the schedule, the side of which all matches are set for Monday.
Moving the Australian’s match to Tuesday would have meant that the winner between he and Sousa would have been forced to play two days straight in Melbourne.
The schedule is a complex challenge which also includes prioritising television opportunities for marquee players and adequate rest opportunities.
Tennis Australia have been contacted for comment but are yet to respond.
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