Nadal's incredible gesture for struggling Murray

AAP

Rafael Nadal has gone out of his way to support Andy Murray after the former World No.1's emotional withdrawal from the Brisbane International.

Serious doubts have been raised over Murray's future after the 30-year-old posted a heartfelt social media post on Tuesday night revealing how much he was "really hurting inside" after pulling out of Brisbane with a hip injury that has plagued him for six months.

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Despite battling his own knee dramas ahead of the Australian Open, world No.1 Nadal was quick to throw his support behind Murray as well wishers responded to the Scot's revealing post.

"Andy, we miss you and we hope to see you back soon! 'Get well my friend!'" Nadal posted on Instagram.



World No.16 Murray has not played a competitive match since the Wimbledon quarterfinals in July.

The three-time grand slam champion is reportedly mulling over whether to contest the Sydney International or play an exhibition event in Melbourne before the Australian Open starting on January 15.

However, his lengthy message sparked UK press speculation that the end may be nigh for the dual Wimbledon winner.

Murray and Nadal. Image: Getty

The Telegraph's Oliver Brown believed it may be best that Murray retire now rather than finish his career trying to battle back to his best.

"His is a story that deserves to end with honour, not with several seasons of futile, grinding anonymity," he wrote.

Murray said he would contemplate surgery on his troublesome hip after finding it "quite demoralising" that it had not responded to months of rehabilitation.

The Telegraph newspaper quoted hip expert Robert Marston saying that Murray was most likely suffering from degenerative arthritis, with a hip replacement the most likely option.

He added that a "return to the very top of tennis following a hip replacement has never been done".

Murray is clearly reluctant to go under the knife but did spectacularly return from back surgery to win his third grand slam in 2016.

Rather than retire, The Telegraph's Simon Briggs believed Murray could emulate Australia's Lleyton Hewitt and finish his career as an underdog drawcard just like the two-time grand slam winner.

"(It's) a factor that we might call the Lleyton Hewitt effect," he wrote.

"This relates to the way a champion player becomes a fan favourite as he or she moves towards the end of their time.

"The instinct of most tennis fans is to cheer for the underdog ... look at Hewitt or Andy Roddick - even in their tennis dotage they drew passionate crowds to the world's biggest stages."

Meanwhile, Murray has been replaced by lucky loser, world No.119 Yannick Hanfmann of Germany, in Brisbane's main draw.