Great Britain's Andy Murray reacts in a match against Spain's Roberto Bautista Agut during the second day of the Mubadala World Tennis Championship in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, Dec 29, 2017. (KAMRAN JEBREILI / AP)
BRISBANE, Australia — Andy Murray's long-term hip injury has forced him out of the Brisbane International, cast serious doubts over his participation in the Australian Open and has him contemplating surgery.
Former No. 1-ranked Murray pulled out of the Brisbane event after failing to practice Tuesday, two days ahead of his scheduled return to competitive tennis for the first time since July.
"I came here with every intention of making a strong start to the year, but sadly my team and I don't feel that I'm where I need to be just yet to compete at the highest level," the two-time Brisbane International champion said in a statement.
His withdrawal was confirmed hours after Garbine Muguruza, the Wimbledon champion and women's top seed, retired from her opening match because of leg cramps.
Garbine Muguruza of Spain is treated by medical staff after she suffered cramps in her match against Aleksandra Krunic of Serbia during the Brisbane International tennis tournament in Brisbane, Australia, Jan 2, 2018. (TERTIUS PICKARD / AP)
Muguruza fell to the court behind the baseline and had treatment on her legs before retiring from her opening match against Aleksandra Krunic while leading in the third set
Krunic rallied from 5-2 down in the second set, forcing the third in a tiebreaker, and earned a spot in the quarterfinals with a a 5-7, 7-6 (3), 1-2 retired result after almost 2 ½ hours in humid conditions on Pat Rafter Arena.
"I don't really cramp a lot, so I'm actually surprised that today my body was like that," Muguruza said, adding that her calf muscles started to cramp early in the second set. "It's a shame because I always come here excited about the first tournament, and this one was bad luck, I guess."
Fifth-seeded Johanna Konta reached the quarterfinals with a 4-6, 6-1, 6-4 win over Ajla Tomljanovic and Alize Cornet advanced with a 6-1, 7-5 win over Mirjana Lucic-Baroni.
Johanna Konta of Great Britain reacts after winning a point in her match against Ajla Tomljanovic of Croatia during the Brisbane International tennis tournament in Brisbane, Australia, Jan 2, 2018. (TERTIUS PICKARD / AP)
The Brisbane International had been Muguruza's only scheduled tuneup event before the first major of the season gets under way in Melbourne on Jan. 15.
The 30-year-old Murray is also undecided, planning to stay in Brisbane for a few days before deciding whether or not to contest the Australian Open or fly home.
Murray said he'd been trying to rest and rehabilitate the problematic right hip, but realized after some practice sets in Australia against leading players that he wasn't fit for competition and needed to reassess his options.
"Obviously continuing rehab is one option and giving my hip more time to recover," Murray wrote in an Instagram post. "Surgery is also an option but the chances of a successful outcome are not as high as I would like which has made this my secondary option and my hope has been to avoid that."
Murray, a five-time Australian Open runner-up, hasn't played a competitive match since his quarterfinal exit at Wimbledon and his ranking has slipped from No 1 to No 16.
He's not the only leading player trying to overcome injury, with top-ranked Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic also trying to recover in time for the Australian Open.
In men's first-round matches in Brisbane, US qualifier Michael Mmoh beat Federico Delbonis 6-3, 6-4, Chung Hyeon upset fifth-seeded Gilles Muller 6-3, 7-6 (1), Kyle Edmund rallied for a 6-7 (5), 7-6 (4), 6-4 win over Denis Shapovalov and Denis Istomin beat No 7-seeded Damir Dzumhur 6-7 (4), 6-3, 6-2.