Alex de Minaur injured his abdominal muscle during a gruelling ATP Cup campaign. Picture: AAP/Craig Golding
Alex de Minaur injured his abdominal muscle during a gruelling ATP Cup campaign. Picture: AAP/Craig Golding

Demon’s crazy ploy to save Australian Open dream

Shattered over missing the Australian Open, Alex de Minaur was not prepared to risk further damage - and potentially his career - by playing at Melbourne Park with a torn stomach muscle.

Revealing he had planned to serve under-arm just to compete at his favourite tournament, the Sydneysider said the severity of injury caused him pain getting out of bed.

In the end, common sense prevailed as de Minaur was persuaded to withdraw from the grand slam.

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Alex de Minaur injured his abdominal muscle during a gruelling ATP Cup campaign. Picture: AAP/Craig Golding
Alex de Minaur injured his abdominal muscle during a gruelling ATP Cup campaign. Picture: AAP/Craig Golding

"The risks of me playing, which I wanted to, were that it could get worse and get to a grade three tear and that involves stitches and is probably a problem for the rest of your career," he said.

"So even though it killed me, this is the right decision, and now I've just got to look at what's ahead.

"Pretty much everyone around me told me that I shouldn't play and I was still planning on going out there and, if need be, serving underarm or at 120km/h or do whatever I can.

"I just did not want to miss playing here.

"But the long-term risks if it got worse (were too great).

 

 

"Me, knowing the competitive spirit that I have, in an important moment of a match if (I) had pushed my body to serve a bit more in an important point, it could mean instead of four weeks maybe a couple of months.

"So it was the smart decision and the right decision."

De Minaur suffered the injury when beating Canadian Denis Shapovalov in the ATP Cup in Brisbane.

"I had some gruelling matches but I didn't expect to injure myself, that's for sure," he said, referring to five consecutive ATP Cup clashes.

"It's just that my matches went for a very long time.

"It's just playing for your country - it's a different feeling.

"I'm going to do everything to leave it all out there and it looks like that this time it's pushed me back for a bit.

 

Devastated de Minaur. Picture: AAP/Scott Barbour
Devastated de Minaur. Picture: AAP/Scott Barbour

 

"I felt the first bit of pain during my Shapovalov match.

"After that I took four days off then played (Dan) Evans in a very long match, played the doubles then had a day off then played Rafa (Nadal).

"During that match I could feel something but I didn't think it was that bad.

"Then I flew to Adelaide, got a scan and it revealed that I had this tear, which is quite a significant one compared to other ones I've had in the past.

"Now it's about recovering."

De Minaur missed a sizeable chunk of last season with a similar problem.

The timing of his latest injury has left the baseliner distraught.

"It's not great ... I'm not going to lie," he said.

"Obviously it's a week on the calendar that I really look forward to and put in all the hard work for, so it's pretty devastating to miss out on my home slam.

"I wanted to go out there and play even though I've got a 4cm grade two tear.

"It's not a joke, it's something really serious, and everyone was telling me not to play.

"It's the smartest thing.

"Getting out of bed hurt, everyday activity hurt, so I was being optimistic but it wasn't going to be the case.

"I'm planning to hopefully be back in four weeks.

"I'll do everything in my power to recover as quickly as possible and get back to what I love doing."


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