Murray fears for Melbourne after Brisbane withdrawal

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Former world number one Andy Murray’s lingering hip issues forced him to withdraw from the Brisbane International on Tuesday with the Briton admitting he was unsure whether he could recover in time for the Australian Open later this month.

Murray has not played a competitive match since a Wimbledon quarter-final loss last July due to the complaint and despite coming through a one-set exhibition in Abu Dhabi last week, he was unable to train on Tuesday and announced his withdrawal.

“I’m very disappointed to be withdrawing from the Brisbane International,” Murray, seeded second in Brisbane, told tournament organisers before going into further detail of his predicament in an emotional post on social media.

“Having been recommended to treat my hip conservatively since the US Open, I have done everything asked of me from a rehab perspective and worked extremely hard to try get back on the court competing,” Murray said on his Instagram account.

“Having played practice sets here in Brisbane with some top players unfortunately this hasn’t worked yet to get me to the level I would like so I have to reassess my options. Continuing rehab is one option and giving my hip more time to recover.

“Surgery is also an option but the chances of a successful outcome are not as high as I would like, which has made this my secondary option and my hope has been to avoid that. However, this is something I may have to consider but let’s hope not.”

The world number 16 had been due to play his first tournament match of the season on Thursday with a second-round encounter against American Ryan Harrison at Pat Rafter Arena. He will be replaced by German lucky loser Yannick Hanfmann.

Murray, who said on Sunday that he planned to trim his schedule in 2018 to prevent a recurrence of his injury issues, will remain in Brisbane for the rest of the week before planning his next move.

“In the short term I’m going to be staying in Australia for the next couple of days to see if my hip settles down a bit and will decide by the weekend whether to stay out here or fly home to assess what I do next,” the 30-year-old added.

“Sorry for the long post but I wanted to keep everyone in the loop and get this off my chest as it’s really hurting inside.”

Brisbane tournament director Cameron Pearson wished the three-times Grand Slam winner well.

“I’m really disappointed for Andy, as I know how much he was looking forward to getting his season started in Brisbane,” he said.

“As a two-time former champion, he has great memories of playing on Pat Rafter Arena and thrilling his fans. I wish him all the best to be ready to play the Australian Open.”

Murray’s latest injury setback will also come as a blow to Australian Open organisers ahead of the year’s first major in Melbourne starting on Jan. 15, along with those of fellow “Big Four” members Rafael Nadal (back) and Novak Djokovic (elbow).

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