Former world number one Andy Murray has withdrawn from the season-opening Brisbane International in a major setback to his Australian Open preparations, hinting that surgery on his problematic hip remained a "secondary option".
He suffered a right hip injury in 2017 and has not played on the ATP tour since losing a tough five-setter to American Sam Querrey in the quarter-finals at Wimbledon.
"I've obviously been going through a really difficult period with my hip for a long time and have sought council from a number of hip specialists," Murray said on Instagram.
"Having been recommended to treat my hip conservatively since the US Open I have done everything asked of me from a rehab perspective and worked extremely hard to try get back on the court competing.
"Having played practice sets here in Brisbane with some top players unfortunately this hasn't worked yet to get me to the level I would like so I have to reassess my options."
Murray added: "Obviously continuing rehab is one option and giving my hip more time to recover. 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.
"However this is something I may have to consider but let's hope not."
The Australian Open starts in Melbourne on January 15 and Murray said he would decide by the weekend whether to stay in Australia or fly home.
"It's quite demoralising that when you get on the court it's not at the level you need it to be to compete at this level. It's really hurting inside," the Scotsman said.
Murray joins top seed and world number one Rafael Nadal, who pulled out of the Brisbane tournament late last week, on the sidelines.