British Tennis maestro Andy Murray has heightened fears that he could miss the Australian Open after pulling out of season-opening Brisbane International due to a hip injury.
The former world number one sustained the right hip injury in 2017 and has not appeared in a competitive match since slumping to a tough five-setter defeat to American Sam Querrey in the quarter-finals at the Wimbledon.
As a result, Murray, who had enjoyed being world number one just 12 months ago, has fallen out of the top 10 to number 16 in the rankings.
Murray, however, made a tepid return to the court, losing a one-set match 6-2 to Roberto Bautista Agut in the United Arab Emirates exhibitions on Friday.
The 30-year-old, who was due to face Ryan Harrison in the second round of the Brisbane International, recently also said that he believed he was in good shape and was all set to play in the tournament.
But Murray now confirmed he was pulling out of the tournament with a right hip injury, adding that he would continue stay in Brisbane as he "works towards returning to the tennis circuit".
Despite his withdrawal from Brisbane International casting doubt over his participation in the Australian Open, the British Tennis star appeared confident of making it to the year's first Grand Slam.
"When you haven't competed for a while, it takes time to get up to that pace. I started to feel a bit better towards the end but I'll need to keep improving, for sure. It was nice. I was planning on stopping here for a couple of days on the way over to Australia to get some practice in with the guys here," the Daily Expess quoted Murray, as saying.
Murray has now joined top seed and world number one Rafael Nadal, who withdrew from the tournament late last week, on the sidelines.