Tennis Expert & Columnist
Andy Murray has made the right decision to pull out of the Australian Open, says Barry Cowan
"I think he has done the sensible thing really because there's no point Murray going on the court 40 per cent fit or 50 per cent fit"
Last Updated: 04/01/18 4:09pm
Andy Murray's decision to pull out of the Australian Open is a "sensible move" but Barry Cowan does not believe the hip injury suffered by the former world No 1 is career-ending.
The Scot has not played a competitive match since Wimbledon last year where he lost to Sam Querrey in the quarter-finals and has since slipped to 16th in the world rankings.
His most recent appearance on court was a one-set, exhibition match against Roberto Bautista Agut in Abu Dhabi last Friday and although the 30-year-old aimed to make his full return at this week's Brisbane International, he was forced to withdraw 48 hours before his clash with American Ryan Harrison.
Murray said on social media earlier this week that, while surgery on his hip was something he wanted to avoid, it remained a possible consideration.
When you've had six months off the tour and you're still not ready to come back, then probably the next option is surgery.
"I'm not surprised by the news. I think he has done the sensible thing really because there's no point Murray going on the court 40 per cent fit or 50 per cent fit," said Sky Sports' analyst Cowan.
"It's a real shame and you just feel for him because he's had time away, clearly missed what he's doing and now I guess it's one of his most difficult decisions moving forward."
Murray will now fly back from Australia to London and "assess all the options" and Cowan admits an operation is something he has said he will now consider.
"He's someone who has always left no stone unturned and has been so thoroughly prepared," he said. "He will want to speak to the best surgeons around. He will make the necessary decisions, but it's pointing towards that isn't it?
"When you've had six months off the tour and you're still not ready to come back, then probably the next option is surgery. He will decide in the next two or three weeks what he's going to do."
Asked whether hip surgery would be career-threatening for the three-time Grand Slam champion, Cowan added: "I certainly don't want to go down there. Do I think he can play again? Absolutely.
"I do think we will see him back on the tennis court. When? We don't know. Will Murray get back to No 1? Will Murray get back in the top 10? We can't tell, we don't know. But obviously it's not ideal because it's looking like a minimum of six months to a year if he does have an operation and that would have been 18 months without competitive tennis.
"One thing you can never doubt with Andy is his determination and competitive drive. I think we all wish him well in what is such a tough time for him especially as the Australian Open is so, so wide open. Murray would have been right, bang in contention of winning the title."
'Andy will leave no stone unturned'
Andy Murray will leave no stone unturned as he considers hip surgery, says Barry Cowan
Barry Cowan was speaking to Sky Sports News from Doha. We will be covering the Australian Open from all angles on www.skysports.com/tennis with news, previews, live blogs, reports and expert analysis.
Tennis updates straight to your phone
How to receive all the latest tennis news straight to your mobile
On the move? Head to our app for mobile devices and iPad, or follow our Twitter account @SkySportsTennis to join in the conversation. Who will win the Australian Open? Have your say...