Andy Murray says he is “gutted” to miss the 2020 Australian Open after a fresh injury setback.
The 32-year-old was hoping to make his Grand Slam return down under at the start of next year but he has been forced to withdraw due to a pelvis problem.
It was initially thought the issue was minor and would not affect his participation in either the season-opening ATP Cup or the Australian Open.
But alarm bells rang when Murray cancelled his training block in Miami and on Saturday his management company announced the Scot would not be travelling to Australia.
“I’ve worked so hard to get myself into a situation where I can play at the top level and I’m gutted I’m not going to be able to play in Australia in January,” Murray said.
“After the AO this year, when I wasn’t sure whether I’d be able to play again, I was excited about coming back to Australia and giving my best, and that makes this even more disappointing for me.
“Unfortunately I’ve had a setback recently and as a precaution, need to work through that before I get back on court competing.”
“I know how excited Andy was about coming back to compete in Australia in January, and how disappointed he is not to make it for 2020,” Tennis Australia CEO Craig Tiley said.
“Andy’s last match at the Australian Open was a five-set rollercoaster that none of us who witnessed it will ever forget. His determination and iron will was on display for all to see, and it’s that fighting spirit that has driven him to come back from a potentially career-ending injury to achieve the results he has this year.
“Although we will miss him in January, we wish him all the very best for his recovery and look forward to seeing him back on court very soon.”
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Murray is now back on court but, given it is still relatively early days in his comeback from hip surgery in January, his team made the decision not to rush his return to competitive tennis.
There will therefore be no emotional return to Melbourne Park a year on from the press conference in which he revealed the extent of his hip problems and contemplated retirement.
A remarkable five-set loss to Roberto Bautista Agut followed in what he accepted could have been the final match of his career.
But two weeks later he underwent hip resurfacing surgery that removed the pain that had dogged him for two years and enabled him to begin a tentative comeback at Queen’s Club in June.
By winning the European Open in Antwerp in October, Murray raised hopes that his days as a contender for the biggest titles may not yet be finished.
But he will not play a match until February at the earliest, with his first tournament now scheduled to be the Open Sud de France in Montpellier beginning on February 2.
Murray’s announcement also means he will not be part of the Great Britain team at the ATP Cup in Australia, which starts on January 3.
Murray qualified Britain for the inaugural edition of the team event through his protected ranking of world number two but Dan Evans and Cameron Norrie will now carry the responsibility in singles.
Britain play group matches against Bulgaria on January 3, Belgium on January 5 and Moldova on January 7, all in Sydney.