British fans may have to wait until 2014 to see Andy Murray in action again. He's undergoing back surgery and is likely to miss the remaining tournaments this year.
It's especially disappointing news for Murray's Asian fan base as the Wimbledon champion had been committed to compete in Bangkok, Tokyo and the Shanghai Masters over the next few weeks. However he appears to have aggravated an ongoing back problem over the past few weeks which will require him to undergo a minor operation at the start of next week.
Murray complained of experiencing pain in his back during Britain's Davis Cup win over Croatia on the clay of Umag last week. The lengthy rallies on clay put far more strain on the lower back and it is believed that Murray has a troublesome disc which affects a nerve in his back, sending pain shooting down his hip and upper leg.
The problem flared up during the clay-court swing in May, forcing Murray to withdraw from the French Open for the first time since 2007.
There are immediate ranking implications as Murray has 1270 points to defend between now and the end of the season. He will lose 780 from missing the upcoming Asian tournaments, meaning that David Ferrer will overtake him to become world no.3. However Ferrer will need a brilliant finish to the season to maintain that ranking as he has a ton of points to defend at the end of October, having won Valencia and the Paris Masters last year.
There is a small chance that Murray will return for the World Tour Finals in November but his main goal is to be back to full fitness in time for his winter training block in Miami which begins in December ahead of the Australian Open. Murray's fans need not fear that the problem will affect his Australian Open chances. After sitting out the French Open earlier this year, he promptly went on to win Queen's and Wimbledon!