Andy Murray has formally abandoned his hopes of playing in Australia this month and is on his way home after he abruptly flew out of Brisbane this morning.
The 30 year-old Scot caught a flight to Melbourne and was said to be planning to continue on his way back to the UK after his abortive attempt to play at the Brisbane International.
Murray this morning became the biggest name so far to pull out of the Australian Open due to the fact that his hip is still not ready to withstand the pressures of competing at the highest level, particularly over five sets.
Andy Murray has formally abandoned his hopes of playing in the Australian Open this month
The 30 year-old Scot had caught a flight to Melbourne on his route back to the UK
‘Sadly I won’t be playing in Melbourne this year, as I am not yet ready to compete,’ Murray said.
‘I’ll be flying home shortly to assess all the options but I appreciate all the messages of support and I hope to be back playing soon.’
There was no immediate word about whether he plans to opt for surgery on the hip, although he admitted this week it was becoming more and more of an option.
Murray had looked set to hold a media briefing at the Pat Rafter Arena, home of the Brisbane International, earlier on Thursday but instead made what seems to have been a late decision to head to the airport at noon to begin the long journey home.
It will be the first time he has not played in Melbourne since 2005, and this represents the second consecutive Grand Slam that he has missed.
Murray pulled out of Brisbane Invitational and admitted surgery is becoming a viable option
‘I am not yet ready to compete,’ said the 30-year-old of his decision to withdraw from the Slam
The twice Wimbledon champion had only arrived in Queensland last Saturday morning and was originally hopeful that he would play his opening match on Thursday against American Ryan Harrison.
But he pulled out on Tuesday and has since been gathering more advice on how to proceed with his hip, posting an emotional message via Instagram that he was ‘really hurting inside’ and that he ‘would do anything to be out there’.
The ill-fated trip to Australia, via an appearance in Abu Dhabi, may be what convinces him that an operation is the best way to gain full fitness again.
Australian Open Tournament Director Craig Tiley wished Murray the best for his recovery.
The ill-fated trip to Australia may be what convinces him that an operation may be best
‘We are fully aware that Andy has been going through a difficult period with his hip and that he’s done everything possible to prepare for the Australian summer,’ Tiley said.
‘Personally, I also know that Andy loves tennis and would do anything to play. This is a very hard decision for Andy and we totally respect it.
‘We wish him the absolute best on his road to recovery and look forward to having him back in Melbourne. He is a true champion and one of our favourites.’
Murray joins Japan’s Kei Nishikori as a high-profile absentee from Melbourne. A decision is still awaited from Serena Williams although Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic have been making more positive noises and have announced that they are both travelling to the city and participating in warm-up events next week, despite not having played an official tournament this week.
Murray joins Japan’s Kei Nishikori as a high-profile absentee from the Melbourne tournament