British No. 1 Andy Murray (Player Profile) may be absent from the Australian Open next year. The World no. 4 has revealed that he will not return to tennis competition unless he believes he is 100 percent capable, Grand Slam events included.
Murray first sustained the injury in May at the Rome Masters and was forced to pull out of the French Open. He returned in top form at Wimbledon and won the Championship in historic fashion yet the injury continued to linger . The problem affects a nerve in Murray’s lower back which sends shooting pain down his hip and upper leg. It flared up once again at the US Open and has been a consistent bother since then, which is why he opted for surgery soon after. He was expected to return to training in November, but the 2-time Grand Slam winner is not sure about the timing.
“You don’t come back just to play a match,” said Murray. “If I come back I want to be in the shape to win it.”
The Scot has finished as runner-up three times in Melbourne, with his most recent loss being the 2013 final, where he fell to Djokovic in four sets. With his history in the tournament and his motivation to finally win the tournament, it would be a pity if he is unable to compete until later in the season.
“I’d be disappointed to miss the Australian Open because its a Grand Slam – it’s a tournament all the players want to play in,”
While the situation is a disappointing one, both for Murray and his fans patiently awaiting his return, but the Scot admits that this break allows him to heal up and get a significant training period in to prepare him for a big 2014.
“I can look at this in a lot of positive ways, if I do get myself ready for it I will have had a long lead up and training block to get myself in the best possible shape.”
Prior to opting for surgery, Murray had failed to defend his US Open title as he exited the tournament in the quarter-finals, but followed it up by helping Great Britain reach the World Group playoffs at the Davis Cup with a win over Croatia. While that was undeniably a big win, Murray considers his end to the season a largely anti-climatic one. He will be absent from the World Tour Finals next week as well, which takes place on home soil in the UK.
“It was a hard decision to have surgery, to realise I was going to miss a period of time was frustrating,” he said. “You realise how much you miss from competition where you’re away from it. It will be hard missing London, but I’ll just have to make the best of it.”