Former World #1 Andy Murray has withdrawn from the 2018 Australian Open.
BREAKING: Andy Murray has withdrawn from the Australian Open. He departed Brisbane on a flight just after noon local time and is heading back to the UK via Melbourne.
— Stuart Fraser (@stu_fraser) January 4, 2018
The British tennis superstar cut short his 2016 campaign with a hip injury, and recently withdrew from the ATP 250 tournament (and Australian Open tuneup) in Brisbane, Australia. The hip is obviously not yet healed enough, and Murray will need to take more time off to let it heal before he can compete again.
Murray has not played in a competitive match since the Wimbledon quarterfinals last year, where he lost to American Sam Querrey in five sets. (He has appeared in a few exhibition matches since then.) It was evident that the Brit was bothered by his hip in that match, as he limped to the finish with obvious injury.
Murray is a three-time Grand Slam champion, and while he has never won the Australian Open, it has historically been his most consistent Slam. The Scot has reached the final in Melbourne five times, losing each of those finals to either Roger Federer (twice) or Novak Djokovic (three times). Djokovic is also considered questionable for the first Grand Slam of the year, and he has said that he will decide whether he will compete after the Tie Break Tens exhibition next week.
Earlier, Japanese star Kei Nishikori announced that he will also miss the Australian Open due to injury. We still have several weeks until the tournament, and two major names have already withdrawn from the men’s bracket, with many more big names still unsure if they will compete. The tournament might have to worry a little bit about its popularity, but Serena Williams’ announced return to the women’s game should alleviate that somewhat.
Murray reached the fourth round in Melbourne last year. His ranking has fallen to #18 in the world due to missing about half of the 2017 season, and he will very likely fall out of the top 20 after missing the Australian Open.