Andy Murray’s hip surgeon has revealed it will be very difficult for the Scot to continue playing until Wimbledon.
An emotional Murray admitted on Friday that his time as a professional is nearly up due to the pain he still suffers, and revealed his hope to bow out at his home grand slam in the summer.
But Dr John O’Donnell, who operated on the player’s troublesome right hip, said: “I don’t think it is impossible, but it will be very difficult.
“He enjoys the Australian Open, and has been very keen to play, but Wimbledon is the high point for him. Ideally he would want to play there, but I imagine once you make the decision that you are going to stop it must get very difficult to keep going with the rehab, never-ending exercising, and putting up with the pain.
“Once you see the end in sight, I guess it would be harder to get motivated.”
Murray is due to play Spain’s Roberto Bautista Agut in the first round of the Australian Open on Monday – a match which may turn out to be his last.
Speaking on BBC Radio 5 Live’s Sportsweek programme, O’Donnell said that Murray had exhausted all avenues in his bid to return to the highest level.
It has been suggested that a hip replacement would be beneficial for the three-time grand slam champion, but O’Donnell added: “Andy has tried really hard and explored every option that has any real possibility of being helpful.
“Realistically, I don’t think there is anywhere else to go to preserve his hip and get it better so he can continue to play. That won’t happen now.”
Murray has never previously dropped a set against gritty Spaniard Bautista Agut but admitted he is in such bad shape physically that he expects to lose.
He told newspaper reporters at the weekend: “I know I’ve got no chance of winning this tournament and most likely I’m going to lose in the first round.
“I’m not happy about that. Because of the way the last six months of competing have gone, I could win but it’s likely that I won’t. It’s going to be uncomfortable.
“If it is my last match, I want to try and enjoy it – enjoy the whole experience, which is maybe something during my career that I’ve not done. I’ve always been focused on tactics and winning and finding a way.”