MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Basketball fans may have done a double take upon seeing the Australian Open schedule on Sunday: Matthew Dellavedova was playing his first-round match on Court 7.
It wasn’t the Australian-born NBA player, though. It was his cousin, 16-year-old Matthew Dellavedova, who’s entered in the boys’ singles and doubles events at Melbourne Park.
The younger Dellavedova gets a lot of questions about his famous basketball-playing relative, formerly LeBron James’ teammate on the Cleveland Cavaliers and now a member of the Milwaukee Bucks.
But he doesn’t know much about him — they’ve never actually met. And he’s not much of a basketball fan, either.
“I’ve never played it myself, apart from maybe half an hour in my lifetime. I’d like to definitely have a game with him,” Dellavedova said after his first-round singles win over Ien Schouten.
“I’ve gotten more interest just purely because he’s playing it. I watched a bit of his college games and then I hear every now and then, (him) winning the — I don’t know what it’s called — but he had a big victory.”
The NBA championship, perhaps?
Dellavedova does share one thing with his second cousin — he’s also known by the nickname “Delly” around the tennis courts. But he’s eager to carve out his own identity in sports.
“It’s pretty annoying typing my name in Google and all that pops up is him,” he joked. “So, it’s been an (inspiration) for me to get better and one day, my face will be on there.”
He certainly seems to be on his way.
Dellavedova, who learned tennis from his father, Peter, a former player and coach, recently earned his first point on the ATP Tour and is planning to start playing events on the lower-tier Challenger and Futures circuits this year. He also recently signed his first sponsorship contract with Head.
“I think too many kids get caught up in the results (in juniors),” he said. “It’s really just been about going out there, having fun and developing your game.”