Andy Murray’s competitive return has been delayed, raising fresh doubts about his participation at Wimbledon.
The former world No1 has not played since he was knocked out of the Wimbledon quarter-finals last July due to a hip injury.
Murray insists he remains hopeful of returning at this year’s tournament, but the Scot has now pulled out of his planned comeback event in s-Hertogenbosch, Holland, which starts on Monday.
Having only returned to the practice court over the last couple of days, Murray faces a race against time to be fit for Wimbledon on July 2.
“It is with regret that I won’t be ready to play in s-Hertogenbosch,” he said.
“I was excited to play there for the first time, but I am not quite ready to return. I am still aiming to play in the coming weeks, but I want to be 100 per cent when I do return.”
Murray underwent hip surgery in Australia in January after pulling out of the Australian Open.
The 31-year-old will make a decision on whether he will enter the Fever-Tree Championships at Queen’s Club, which begins on June 18, next week.
Andy Murray revealed recovering from hip surgery has been “harder” than his previous fitness problems as he confirmed his intention to play at the Citi Open in Washington ahead of the US Open.
The 30-year-old former world number one only recently returned to the training court as he continues his rehabilitation after going under the knife in Melbourne in January.
Murray will make a late decision on whether to play in the Challenger Tour event in Glasgow starting on April 30, one of two new second-tier tournaments announced by the Lawn Tennis Association last month, partly with the Scot’s return in mind.
The Briton could also play in Loughborough towards the end of May while, if he wants extra grass-court play, there is another Challenger in Surbiton beginning on June 4.
Murray is expected to return to main ATP Tour action at the Libema Open in the Netherlands in June, the grass-court tournament taking place the week before the Fever-Tree Championships at Queen’s Club.
It is not the first testing experience Murray has endured to work his way to full fitness again, having gone through a back operation in 2013.
Murray, though, told the Washington Post: “This time has been harder.”
He added: “There’s been a lot more ups and downs this time. It’s been longer and a lot more complex than the back issue.
“Having been through a back injury and a difficult surgery before helps, but the back injury was easier because I was back on the court competing quite soon afterwards.
“I will enjoy it more (returning to action). I think when you go through an injury like this you realise how much you miss playing, how important it is to you.
“I like pressure, I miss that, something that you don’t get in day-to-day life, something that I’ve had as part of my life for, well it’s been 13, 14 years since I became a pro. I miss that, I miss the competition.
“There will always be pressure there, but I’ll definitely make sure I enjoy it more and make sure I don’t get too down with a bad result or a tough loss and not get too high when things are going well.
“You never quite know what’s around the corner. I certainly never anticipated something like this, so I certainly won’t take anything for granted when I come back.”
Three-time Grand Slam winner Murray is looking forward to the hard-court tournament at the Rock Creek Park Tennis Center.
“I enjoyed it both the two times that I played (previously). I was pretty young the first time, I had a good run there. This year has been difficult with injury and obviously I’ve been trying to play matches once I come back,” he said.
“It’s a nice tournament, good conditions, nice and warm, and the players get looked after very, very well there.
“I like it, even though it didn’t go well the last time I was there. Me and my team had a good time there and wanted to come back.”
Caroline Wozniacki is considering boycotting next year’s Miami Open after the vile abuse she received from fans at last month’s tournament.
The world No2 is furious at the response from tournament officials to her complaints about death threats towards both her and her family during the 6-0, 4-6, 4-6 defeat to Monica Puig in the second round.
The Miami crowd was largely against Wozniacki and the Dane believes it was one of the worst experiences of her career.
She felt let down by the unsympathetic statement from tournament director James Blake, a former top-10 player.
“I slept horribly for probably four or five days after that, I wasn’t at ease,” said the 27-year-old.
“I really felt awful. There was a bad feeling in my stomach. David (Lee, her fiance) was there too and he even was like: ‘This is bad, this is not the way’.
“The experience that I had in Miami was awful and hopefully something we’ll never experience again.”