Murray out as Australian Open loses another star

Andy Murray speaks to the press ahead of 2017 US Open Tennis Championshipsk. Credit Dennis Van Tine

Tennis - Former ATP pro Jeff Salzenstein says that Andy Murray may not have taken enough care and may be partly responsible for his hip injury.

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.

And world No 21 Kyrgios, who is a close friend of Murray's, has been left crestfallen by the news and hopes he will not have to go under the knife in order to resolve the problem.

"Sadly I won't be playing in Melbourne this year, as I am not yet ready to compete", Murray said in a statement released by Tennis Australia.

An operation and the resultant recovery would keep Murray out of the game for several months, but could also save a career that has been imperilled since his painful exit from Wimbledon in July.

Murray added that he appreciated all the supportive messages he has received regarding his injury and hopes to "be back playing soon".

Williams said after her loss to French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko: "I don't know if I am totally ready to come back on the tour yet".

The chronic and still unspecified problem in his right hip that let Murray down in his last competitive match - a gruelling five-setter against Sam Querrey at Wimbledon - has improved through intense physiotherapy and hours of hard work away from the court.

Confirmation of his absence came hours after Kei Nishikori announced that he, also, wouldn't have enough time to fully recover from a torn wrist tendon before the Australian Open starts January 15 in Melbourne. He attempted to make a return at the US Open but pulled out of the tournament just two days before it started.

Murray has now joined top seed and world number one Rafael Nadal, who withdrew from the tournament late last week, on the sidelines.

Djokovic, Murray and Wawrinka haven't played since Wimbledon nearly six months ago, while Nadal also withdrew from this week's Brisbane International after canning a Christmas training block in Majorca.

He cancelled scheduled appearances in Abu Dhabi and Doha but intends to test the injury next week at two warm-up events in Melbourne before deciding whether to embark on a tilt at a record seventh Aussie title.

On the women's side of the draw there are question marks over the fitness of defending champion Serena Williams, who has not played competitively since giving birth four months ago.

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