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Tennis star Murray raises hip surgery fear

Former world No.1 Andy Murray withdraws from this week's Brisbane International, raising doubts he will be fit for this month's Australian Open.

Photos: Legends returning next year

Serena Williams is one of a handful of grand slam winners who will be making a comeback in 2018. She took time off after winning the Australian Open in January ... while pregnant.

Photos: Legends returning next year

Williams gave birth to daughter Alexis Olympia 3.5 months ago and is back practicing. Australian Open tournament director Craig Tiley said he expects her to play in Melbourne next month.

Photos: Legends returning next year

If Serena does play and wins the Australian Open, she would tie Australia's Margaret Court for the all-time grand slam lead with 24.

Photos: Legends returning next year

Another player making a comeback is Novak Djokovic. The 12-time grand slam winner hasn't competed since July due to an elbow injury.

Photos: Legends returning next year

Djokovic is looking to recapture the form that saw him win four straight majors from 2015-2016. He was the first man to win four straight since Rod Laver in 1969.

Photos: Legends returning next year

Djokovic's friend Andy Murray is also due to return to action. Like Djokovic, Murray shut down his season following Wimbledon.

Photos: Legends returning next year

Murray replaced Djokovic as world No. 1 last year but was troubled by a longstanding hip problem in 2017. He cut ties too with coach Ivan Lendl.

Photos: Legends returning next year

Injury wasn't the issue for Victoria Azarenka this year. After she gave birth in December 2016, Azarenka returned to competition in June.

Photos: Legends returning next year

But Azarenka became embroiled in a custody battle with her son's father and didn't play again after Wimbledon. Azarenka received a wildcard for the ASB Classic in Auckland the first week of January but has now withdrawn.

Photos: Legends returning next year

Maria Sharapova will be playing in her first full season since returning from a doping ban in April. Originally given a two-year ban for testing positive for meldonium, her punishment was reduced to 15 months.

Photos: Legends returning next year

Highlights for Sharapova in 2017 included beating current No. 1 Simona Halep in the first round of the US Open and winning a title in China in October.

Story highlights

  • Murray withdraws from Brisbane International
  • Fresh injury problems for Djokovic
  • Australian Open starts January 15

(CNN)It is the start of a new year, the start of a new tennis season, but the injury problems which hampered some of the sport's biggest names still appear to be an issue despite the first grand slam of 2018 looming on the horizon.

Former world No.1 Andy Murray, who has not played since July because of injury, has withdrawn from this week's Brisbane International due to long-term issues with his right hip and has said he may need surgery.

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    With the Australian Open starting on January 15, the Briton's withdrawal from Brisbane raises doubts about the 30-year-old's participation in the first major of the year, a tournament he has finished runner-up on five occasions.

    In a lengthy post on his Instagram page, Murray said he will stay in Australia over the next few days and decide over the weekend whether to remain Down Under or return to Britain.

    "In the short term I'm going to be staying in Australia for the next couple of days to see if my hip settles down a bit and will decide by the weekend whether to stay out here or fly home to assess what I do next," he said.

    Read More

    READ: 2018 -- The year of the comebacks

    READ: Serena set for likely Australian Open comeback


    Andy Murray visits boyhood tennis school 01:23

    Novak Djokovic, winner of 12 grand slams, was also an absentee from the second half of the tour last year and has also delayed his comeback, saying last week that he had "started to feel pain" in his right elbow.

    Meanwhile, world No.1 Rafael Nadal has announced he will make his return to the sport, after withdrawing from November's World Tour Finals with a knee injury, at an exhibition event in Melbourne next week.

    The Spaniard withdrew from the Brisbane International last week, saying he was "still not ready after last year's long season," but said he intended on playing at the Australian Open.

    Stan Wawrinka (knee), Milos Raonic (wrist), Kei Nishikori (wrist) are other major names who are bidding to overcome injury concerns before the Australian Open begins.

    Who are your favorites for the Australian Open men's and women's titles? Have your say on our Facebook page.

    'Difficult period' for Murray

    Murray, now ranked 16th in the world, attempted a return at the US Open in August but pulled out two days before the start of the tournament and his only on-court appearances since have been exhibitions.

    "I've obviously been going through a really difficult period with my hip for a long time and have sought council from a number of hip specialists," he added on Instagram.

    "Having been recommended to treat my hip conservatively since the US Open I have done everything asked of me from a rehab perspective and worked extremely hard to try get back on the court competing.

    "Having played practice sets here in Brisbane with some top players unfortunately this hasn't worked yet to get me to the level I would like so I have to reassess my options. Obviously continuing rehab is one option and giving my hip more time to recover.

    "Surgery is also an option but the chances of a successful outcome are not as I high as I would like which has made this my secondary option and my hope has been to avoid that. However this is something I may have to consider but let's hope not."

    Muguruza withdraws, Serena returns


    What's next for women's tennis? 03:32

    In the women's draw at Brisbane, Wimbledon champion Garbine Muguruza was forced to retire after collapsing during her match against Serbia's Aleksandraw Krunic with severe cramp.

    But 2018 will mark the return of 23-time grand slam champion Serena Williams, who returned to the court at the Mubadala World Tennis Championship in Abu Dhabi at the weekend, less than four months after becoming a mum.

    "It's really good to be back on court. It's my first time playing in Abu Dhabi ... first matches back are always super incredibly hard, but it was great and I'm glad I could do it here," Williams said after her 6-2 3-6 10-5 defeat to Jelena Ostapenko.

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    Williams, currently ranked world No.22, has entered to defend her Australian Open crown.

    A 24th grand slam title would see Williams tie controversial Australian Margaret Court for the all-time grand slam lead, women or men.