Former world number one Andy Murray said on Friday he had decided against competing in the Australian Open after failing to find a “workable quarantine” following his recovery from the coronavirus.
Murray has finished his period of self-isolation and had hoped to compete in the first Grand Slam of 2021 in Melbourne.
But the former Wimbledon and US Open champion said he could not find a way of getting to Australia and then quarantining ahead of the tournament’s scheduled start on February 8.
Murray would have had to head to Australia by Saturday to ensure he could observe the mandatory two-week hotel quarantine period.
“Gutted to share that I won’t be flying out to Australia to compete at the Australian Open,” Murray said.
“We’ve been in constant dialogue with Tennis Australia to try and find a solution which would allow some form of workable quarantine, but we couldn’t make it work.
“I want to thank everyone there for their efforts, I’m devastated not to be playing out in Australia. It’s a country and tournament that I love.”
Murray, a five-time Australian Open runner-up, was unable to travel on one of the charter flights laid on by tournament organisers after recording a positive test.
After heading to Australia, 72 players set to compete in the tournament have been largely confined to their rooms for two weeks after passengers on their flights tested positive.
Players can only leave their rooms for a few hours a day to practice.
Murray, who was asymptomatic, was unable to come to an agreement over quarantine, despite constructive talks with tournament director Craig Tiley.
He had been given a wild card entry into the tournament as he looked to make his first Australian Open appearance since 2019, when he revealed the extent of his right hip problems and raised the possibility of retiring.
The 33-year-old Scot’s decision to pull out is another blow to his hopes of returning to the top of the sport.
Murray, currently ranked 123rd in the world, has not gone past the second round of a Grand Slam since 2017 after being plagued by the hip injury.
His last Grand Slam final appearance came when he won Wimbledon in 2016.