De Minaur's classic French Open planning

Alex de Minaur says he's nearly back to his best ahead of the French Open.
Alex de Minaur says he's nearly back to his best ahead of the French Open.

Battling his first serious injury setback since bursting into the limelight has taught Alex de Minaur to relax a little and appreciate just what he's achieved.

The 20-year-old Australian goes into the French Open this week as the 21st seed after a meteoric rise since riding a wildcard in January last year into the Brisbane International semi-finals.

Ahead of Monday's first-round clash with American Bradley Klahn, Australia's top-ranked male revealed an offbeat hobby - old cars, and in his case, ownership of a 1972 Mini - had helped as he worked in recent weeks to overcome a groin injury.

"Rehabbing isn't easy and you've got to distract yourself somehow - and I've got a fondness for classic cars," de Minaur said.

"It's something that's kept me going.

"It's not like I've added to the collection - I don't have the budget of others - but I'm always looking to see what's around."

The world No.24 said he had also learned when to take his foot off the pedal.

"Sometimes I need to sit back, relax and look what I've been able to accomplish," he said.

"I'm very happy with that and I've gotta keep reminding myself of where I used to be and where I am now and keep believing in myself.

"But you can never get complacent - that's the deal."

De Minaur and in-form Astra Sharma - set to play Shelby Rogers - are guaranteed Monday starts at Roland Garros, as are eighth seed Ashleigh Barty and former finalist Samantha Stosur.

A finalist last month on clay in Bogota, Sharma has edged inside the world's top 100 but knows it's an "exponential" leap to crack the top 50.

"The rise has been really rapid; I did not expect it at all," the 23-year-old said.

"I'm on that borderline and that would be the next step (to perform well in a grand slam)."

Seven other Australians in the draw, including Bernard Tomic and John Millman, will begin their campaigns on Tuesday in Paris.

AUSSIES IN ACTION ON MONDAY (PREFIX DENOTES SEEDING):

* 21-Alex de Minaur v Bradley Klahn (USA)

* Astra Sharma v Shelby Rogers (USA)

* Samantha Stosur v Barbora Strycova (CZE)

* 8-Ashleigh Barty v Jessica Pegula (USA)

ON TUESDAY:

* Ajla Tomljanovic v 3-Simona Halep (ROU)

* Daria Gavrilova v Aleksandra Krunic (SRB)

* Priscilla Hon v Timea Barbos (HUN)

* Bernard Tomic v Taylor Fritz (USA)

* John Millman v 5-Alexander Zverev (GER)

* Matthew Ebden v Gregoire Barrere (FRA)

* Jordan Thompson v 25-Felix Auger-Aliassime (CAN).

Australian Associated Press