It’s safe to say Andy Murray would have hoped for a better start to 2018 after his injury worries took another turn for the worse this week.
The Scotsman endured the second half of last year facing a battle to regain fitness following a hip injury picked up at the French Open during the summer.
Murray, who has been out of action since July, now enters his sixth month on the sidelines after withdrawing from his first tournament of the calendar year - the Brisbane International.
The 30-year-old’s long absence has seen him fall down the world rankings to 16th, and he has considered surgery as a potential option in order to regain full fitness.
In a message posted on Instagram, Murray said that surgery on his hip is his ‘secondary option’, but hopes to avoid it as he continues his rehabilitation methods.
Murray is also a doubt for the Australian Open, which commences on 15 January, but claims that he’ll decide whether to stay or fly home by the weekend.
The former world number one will need all the support he can get during this difficult spell and one man who has offered his sympathy is no stranger to Murray.
Rafael Nadal appeared in the comments sections as he too is enduring a tough period with injuries.
The Spaniard has faced Murray 24 times during his 16-year professional tenure, coming out on top 17 times.
However, rivalries were put to the side as Nadal showed his class again, writing: “Andy, we miss you and we hope to see you back soon! Get well my friend!”
Nadal, who won six singles tournaments last year, is also a doubt to feature in the Australian Open because of a knee injury.
There’s still a chance the Spaniard could still take to the courts come mid-January, although it remains unlikely.
However, for Murray, it seems a return to action any time soon appears to be a distant dream.
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