Alex de Minaur is in line to join some of Australia's modern-day greats as a multiple Newcombe Medallist at tennis's night of nights in Melbourne.
De Minaur is favoured to be crowned Australian tennis's most outstanding performer of the year on Monday night after soaring to the cusp of the world's top 10 in 2023.
The 24-year-old reached a career-high No.11 in October, collected his seventh ATP Tour title in Acapulco, made four finals and helped Australia to a second straight Davis Cup decider in Spain.
In his most consistent season yet, de Minaur also became the first Australian since his idol and Davis Cup captain Lleyton Hewitt in 2004 to progress to 11 tournament quarter-finals, made the second week at two of the four grand slams, in Melbourne and New York, and stormed into his maiden ATP Masters 1000 event in Toronto.
In an exceptional shortlist of six finalists, only doubles star Storm Hunter could possibly deny de Minaur from joining the ranks of Ash Barty, a four-time Newcombe Medallist, three-time recipient Samantha Stosur and wheelchair wizard Dylan Alcott to have won the award at least twice.
With two WTA title wins partnering Belgian partner Elise Merten and runs to the Wimbledon final and season-ending championship semi-finals, Hunter became the first Australian to claim the women's world No.1 doubles ranking since Stosur in 2007.
The other four nominees are Rinky Hijikata, Alexei Popyrin, Max Purcell and men's doubles ace Matt Ebden.
Hijikata more than vindicated his US Open wildcard entry with an inspired charge to the fourth round and also won the Australian Open doubles title with countryman Jason Kubler.
Popyrin reached a career-high No.39 in the world after toppling three-time major winner Stan Wawrinka to capture his second ATP title, on clay in Umag.
Purcell also broke in to the top 50 for the first time following three consecutive Challenger Tour titles and progression to a Masters 1000 event for the first time in Cincinnati.
Ebden powered up to No.4 in the men's doubles ranking and became the first Aussie to make the semi-finals of the season-ending ATP Finals since John Peers five years ago.
Australian Associated Press