Alex de Minaur is a kid on the rise.
The 18-year-old Australian has just made his first ATP final, courtesy of a 4-6, 6-1, 6-1 win over Frenchman Benoit Paire in the Sydney International on Friday night.
He will take on Russian qualifier and world number 84 Daniil Medvedev in the decider.
This follows on from a run to the Brisbane International semi-finals. De Minaur has won 11 of his last 12 matches, beating the likes of Milos Raonich, Feliciano Lopez and Fernando Verdasco to gain some impressive momentum heading into the Australian Open.
“It’s crazy. I didn’t expect it at all, but I have just been riding this wave,” de Minaur said after beating Paire.
“I have been doing all the right things, so I’m very pleased at what I’m able to accomplish.”
That wave may not count for much at Melbourne Park, as De Minaur must face world number 20 Tomas Berdych in his first-round match, but on current form you certainly can’t write him off as a chance.
Whether young Alex cuts an epic, giant-slaying swathe through the Aus Open this year, or bombs out in the first round at the hands of the wily Berdych, it’s clear we need a decent nickname for the lad.
Here are a few of our suggestions. Vote for your favourite or let us know if you can think of something better.
This is the current default nickname for the young fellow, but just because he endorses it himself doesn’t necessarily mean the rest of us have to go with it.
I’m sure we all would have loved to be called “Slayer” or “Funky McFunkface” or something cool in high school, but our peers chose differently for us.
“I like to think that I never backed down, I leave it all out there,'” he told The Australian recently.
“I like to think that’s where ‘Demon’ comes from.”
This is obviously a really clever play on De Minaur’s surname, with many of the same letters.
Half man, half bull, the Minotaur was a powerful, furious mythical beast which lived on the island of Crete.
If Alex took on this nickname, we could soon see fans wearing Minotaur heads in the stands, and the media could bray about how he faces a labyrinthian Wimbledon draw.
These are just a couple of examples of how much fun it would be for everyone.
Based loosely on a mispronunciation of his last name, we are getting into quasi-intellectual territory with this moniker.
It is, of course, a minor musical scale based on D, featured in the likes of Mozart’s Requiem and Johann Sebastian Bach’s Art of Fugue.
It’s also used prominently in the film scores of Hans Zimmer in simple, trance-like chord loops (Gladiator, The Dark Knight).
De Minaur’s style has been described as simple and metronomic, so it kind of fits, right?
Sorry for trying to bring some sagacity to this lowbrow conversation.
Little Lleyton Jr
The comparisons between De Minaur and Lleyton Hewitt will no doubt be wheeled out. (AAP: Paul Miller)
A battling, rugged little Aussie who never gives up on a point? The comparisons between De Minaur and Lleyton Hewitt will no doubt get wheeled out pretty regularly.
Little Lleyton Junior works quite well because not only is he half his mentor’s age, he is exactly the same height as him too, at 180cm. OK, that’s not short in normal-person life, but compared to most male tennis players, it’s at the lower end of the scale.
If the real Lleyton is worried about (false) insinuations that he fathered an illegitimate son 18 years ago, some variations of this one could be Mini Lleyton (problematic because of the same-height thing) or Later Lleyton (could sound a bit grating when shouted in a broad Australian accent by commentators).
Alex Kidd in Miracle World is still considered one of the greatest games on any console. (Supplied)
Because he’s a kid and his name is Alex. This could become an issue later in his career but others have dealt with it before — Craig McDermott was still Billy the Kid well into his 30s.
And imagine the scenes when he lifts the US Open in a couple of years:
“Alex Kidd … is in MIRACLE WORLD!”