Andy Murray's comeback will effectively be over if he fails to recover from his latest injury setback, a leading hip specialist has warned.
Murray, 32, who has not played since November, announced on Thursday that he is withdrawing from two events next month with the pelvic problem which forced him out of the Australian Open.
Giles Stafford, a consultant orthopaedic surgeon who has closely monitored Murray's return, said: "If it doesn't get better then it might be the end of what Andy is hoping to achieve.
"It will limit his comeback. He might be able to play doubles, but singles could be too much for him. So it is obviously a concern.
"If the injury doesn't improve, or when he returns to playing and the problem comes back, then obviously he has to think about where he goes from there."
It was first felt that the Scot's injury, which surfaced at November's Davis Cup finals, was only minor.
But the three-time major winner sparked concern when he withdrew from the opening Grand Slam before then revealing he would play no part in next month's tournaments in Montpellier and Rotterdam.
Stafford believes the bone bruising is linked to Murray's hip resurfacing surgery at the start of 2019.
"It is claimed that Andy's hip implant has a better range of motion than a standard conventional replacement and it actually doesn't," said Stafford.
Meanwhile, Heather Watson's excellent run at the Hobart International came to an end with a semi-final defeat by third seed Elena Rybakina.
The Briton began her campaign in qualifying and produced her best victory for two-and-a-half years by beating top seed Elise Mertens in the last eight.
She gave Kazakh Rybakina a real battle as well but came up just short, losing 6-3 4-6 6-4.
The run will see Watson climb from 101st in the rankings to 75th, and she next faces Kristyna Pliskova in the first round of the Australian Open in Melbourne on Tuesday.