Two-time Wimbledon champion Andy Murray could miss the entire grass-court season as reports out of the UK say his recovery from hip surgery is going poorly.
Murray has not played an official match since battling to a defeat in the Wimbledon quarter-finals last year.
While he first attempted to repair the joint with rest and rehabilitation, the Scottish former world No.1 underwent an operation in January following an ill-fated comeback attempt in Australia.
And now, despite being registered to play at a Wimbledon lead-up tournament in the Netherlands beginning June 11, Murray may not be seen for some time yet.
“Whispers from close to the Murray camp suggest that the American hard-court season, which starts in earnest only in August, is now the more realistic target,” reports the Telegraph.
“There is even a theory that he should be especially cautious and delay his comeback until the end of the year.”
There were also hopes Murray would be a late entrant in a new ATP Challenger tournament in Loughborough, which begins on May 19.
But it has been reported he has not been seen at the All England Club, his usual training base, for three weeks, and he is said to have turned down two recent corporate gigs.
Murray had been training with Scottish youngster Aidan McHugh in early April before the teenager returned to the Futures tour.
Rafael Nadal recently revealed he had spoken to Murray over the phone, with his comments suggesting slow progress.
“I have been in that situation,” the Spanish world No.1 said in Monte Carlo last month.
“I know how tough and frustrating it is when you work every day and you don’t see the light of how to improve. But then one day trying things, trying treatments, one day things are going better, no?
“If he is healthy, he will be back in a position to fight for the most important things. But as with everybody, you need to be healthy.
“Without health, you can play but is almost impossible to play at the level that Andy wants to play.”
In a similar situation to Murray, Novak Djokovic took the second half of 2017 off to rest an elbow injury.
He returned at the Australian Open, reaching the fourth round, but underwent a minor operation in February and has had mixed results in a handful of tournaments since.