Murray season almost certainly over as he opts for back surgery
The greatest season of Andy Murray's career is almost certainly over after the Wimbledon champion elected for surgery to put right his injured back.
At the age of 26, and with several years at the highest level to come providing he manages his body carefully, Murray has decided that rather than play on and risk aggravating his problem, now is the time to step back from the tour.
It is understood there is only a slim chance of Murray playing again in 2013, meaning he is likely to miss November's end-of-season ATP World Tour Finals at London's O2 indoor venue, a blow to the event for which Roger Federer is struggling to qualify.
The back issue that Murray has battled with is an injury he has suffered with before this year. It flared up badly in May during the Rome Masters, prompting him to abandon a second-round match against Marcel Granollers and pull out of the French Open.
The Scot and his team have carefully dealt with the complaint since then, and it did not prevent his run to Wimbledon glory in July.
But his management company, 77, has confirmed Murray is to take a break.
"Next week, Andy is set to undergo minor back surgery in an effort to clear up a long-standing back problem," said a statement.
"The issue flared up again during the Rome Masters this year when Andy was forced to retire and he sought advice from a range of specialists in May.
"After a successful return on the more forgiving grass courts, Andy enjoyed success at Queen's and Wimbledon, but after recently playing on hard-courts and clay, Andy once again sought medical advice about solving the issue once and for all.
"The aim is to be fully fit for the new season."
Murray will undergo surgery next week, at an unspecified location.
His final contribution of the season in which he ended the 77-year wait for a home men's singles champion at Wimbledon looks set to be his telling role in guiding Great Britain back to the World Group of the Davis Cup.
Murray won two singles matches and partnered Colin Fleming to a doubles victory as Great Britain defeated Croatia 4-1 in Umag.
Providing all runs smoothly with his surgery, Murray should be back on court and targeting the Australian Open in January, before returning to Davis Cup duty at the end of the month when Leon Smith's GB team face the United States.