Demon’s Open campaign in serious jeopardy
Alex de Minaur's Australian Open hopes are in serious jeopardy as the nation's top-ranked male battles to recover from an abdominal injury.
The world No.21 is struggling to overcome a muscle tear after a frenetic start to the season in the ATP Cup, where played five three-matches (four singles and a doubles) in nine days as Australia reached the semis.
The slightly-built baseliner downed world No.7 Alexander Zverev and No.15 Denis Shapovalov before losing to Dan Evans and reigning French and US Open champion Rafael Nadal in brutal encounters.
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He also shared an epic doubles win with Nick Kyrgios over Jamie Murray and Joe Salisbury.
The combined demands of those matches forced de Minaur out of the Adelaide International.
Since transferring to Melbourne, the right-hander has undergone constant therapy but the injury has improved sufficiently for de Minaur to be confident of playing.
Downcast in Adelaide, the Sydneysider is now contemplating the possibility of missing the Open, starting from Monday.
"Obviously I'm not in the happiest mood," de Minaur, 20, said. "But it's something that happens ... I've aggravated a bit of an ab injury.
"It's devastating, because it was a part of my schedule for a very long time.
"I was really looking forward to playing.
"But I've got to take care of my body.
"My sole focus is making sure I recover for my next one (Australian Open)."
He will continue to seek treatment in the hope of an unlikely recovery.
If de Minaur misses the Open, Australian teammate Kyrgios will move up to 20th seeding ahead of Thursday's (6PM) draw.
Kyrgios headlines the Kooyong Classic's "Super Thursday" line-up.
The Canberran faces Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov at the former home of the Australian Open from 1pm.
The pair will be followed by Greece's Stefanos Tsitsipas and Italian Matteo Berrettini.
The program is completed by former world No.1 Maria Sharapova's clash with Queensland's Ajla Tomljanovic.