In the end there was simply too much uncertainty for Andy Murray to play Wimbledon.
The two-time champion announced on Sunday afternoon that he had made the decision to withdraw, two days before he had been scheduled to play Benoit Paire in his opening match.
After hip surgery in January, Murray finally returned to the match court at Queen’s Club two weeks ago and also played in Eastbourne but he ultimately decided playing best-of-five set tennis at this stage of his comeback was not what he wanted to do.
The 31-year-old said: “I spoke to my team last night saying how I was feeling about things and got their thoughts. We’ve been speaking pretty much every day about how I’m feeling in terms of my hip and how I’m getting on physically.
“This morning I spoke with all of my team and my doctor as well. We were trying to get in touch last night but my doctor wasn’t quite able to. I was just sort of feeling that I was not ready and willing to play.”
Murray also revealed last year’s Wimbledon, when his hip problems first began to show and he limped through to the quarter-finals, was playing on his mind.
“When I was getting asked about certain things, it was just quite unknown,” he said. “I didn’t know how I was going to respond to playing five-set matches. I went through a similar situation last year when I went into Wimbledon.
“I didn’t feel good before Wimbledon last year but decided to play. I know how that ended up. There was a bit of that in the back of my mind as well, thinking: ‘Let’s sure make sure I don’t make a mistake’.
“I’ve made progress in the last month, which hadn’t really been the case for the last 10 or 11 months. I was going in the right direction. I would have been putting myself in a situation that I haven’t been able to replicate in training or in practice recently. Which is a maybe a bit unnecessary to do that at this stage.”
The first signs that something was amiss came when Murray was absent from the practice schedule on Sunday, but he said: “I didn’t have any setbacks in practice.
“It’s been a positive 10 days, two weeks. I decided to play at Queen’s. Considering the circumstances, I think I competed pretty well against the level of opposition that I was up against. Also in practices, it’s not like guys have been killing me and I’ve been completely off the pace.
“What I didn’t want to do was to start the tournament, potentially win my first match, and then withdraw because I didn’t feel good. I didn’t feel that was the right thing to do, either.
“I didn’t feel like I was going to win the tournament. I didn’t feel I was going to do extremely well in the tournament. There were just so many unknowns. They were all signs that it was maybe not the right thing to do.
“It’s been hard because I really wanted to play. Once you get back on the match court, you don’t want to be taking what feels like a bit of a step back in some ways.”
While Murray’s rivals are beginning their Wimbledon campaigns, the 31-year-old will hit the hard courts on Monday in preparation for the American summer, with his next tournament scheduled to be the Citi Open in Washington, starting on July 30.
This is the fourth successive slam Murray will have missed, and the first time he has sat out Wimbledon since a wrist injury kept him away in 2007.