Alex de Minaur's Barcelona debut delayed as he pulls out of event

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Alex de Minaur's Barcelona debut delayed as he pulls out of event

Rising Australian star Alex de Minaur won't be opening his 2019 clay-court season at the Barcelona Open as he has withdrawn from the tournament due to a groin issue. The 20-year-old was expected to make his debut appearance on the clay courts of Barcelona as he has no previous appearances at the tournament.

The Australian hasn't played since he picked up a surprise Indian Wells Masters second-round loss against American Marcos Giron. De Minaur, ranked at No. 25 in the world, planned to open his clay season in Barcelona next week.

The 20-year-old didn't sign up to play any of the clay events held last week. The Australian also didn't sign up to play this week's Monte Carlo Masters. After a strong start to the year in Australia, de Minaur has played only two tournaments.

The Australian made the Brisbane quarter-final in the opening week of the season before he claimed his maiden ATP title a week later in Sydney. The 20-year-old then reached the Australian Open third round before losing to eventual runner-up Rafael Nadal.

It remains to be seen will de Minaur open his clay season at the Estoril Open, which starts on April 29. Meanwhile, a place in the Barcelona main draw has opened for German Mischa Zverev following the withdrawal of de Minaur.

Zverev, 31, is set to make his sixth main draw appearance at the Barcelona event. The German has never made a deep run in Barcelona, having picked up three first round and two second-round exits in the first five campaigns at the tournament.