Andy Murray has withdrawn from Wimbledon as he continues to recover from a long-term hip injury.
The two-time champion had hip surgery in January and made his return at Queen’s in June, losing in three sets to 19th-ranked Australian Nick Kyrgios.
He was scheduled to play Benoit Paire in the first round of the tournament on Tuesday, and said he was pulling out “with regret”.
“We did everything we could to try to be ready in time,” he said in a statement posted on Facebook.
“I’ve made significant progress in practice and matches over the last 10 days but, after lengthy discussions with my team and with a heavy heart, we’ve decided that playing best-of-five-set matches might be a bit too soon in the recovery process.”
The @Wimbledon account wrote on Twitter that Murray would “be missed” and wished him “all the best” in his recovery.
Murray had spoken confidently about his planned return to Wimbledon, and his withdrawal on the eve of the competition will come as a surprise to many fans.
On Saturday, he said that unless he woke up and did not “feel good” he would play, saying he viewed his recovery “very much day by day, just as a process”.
Really sorry to hear the news, @andy_murray.
— Wimbledon (@Wimbledon) July 1, 2018
His hip problems first surfaced at the Wimbledon tournament last summer, and he has since withdrawn from three consecutive grand slams – this being his fourth.
In 2013 he became the first British man to win the Wimbledon singles tournament in 77 years, claiming the title again in 2016 as well as winning the 2012 US Open and two Olympic singles gold medals.
Stepping out of the competition will mean Murray’s ranking will plummet to outside the top 800.
In his statement he said he will begin practising on hard courts from Monday, and hopes to return to play in the upcoming US season.
“Thanks for all the messages of support and I’m excited to finally be back playing after so long out,” he said.