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World number three Andy Murray is set to return from a hip injury in time for the Australian Open in January, says tournament director Craig Tiley.
The three-time Grand Slam winner has been sidelined since losing to American Sam Querrey in the Wimbledon quarter-finals in July.
Murray and his medical team decided not to undergo an operation after aggravating a right hip problem in his gruelling French Open semi-final defeat to Stan Warwrinka the previous month.
He struggled through Wimbledon taking cortisone injections and then hopes of a recovery in time for the final Grand Slam event of the year at the US Open in September were dashed when he was forced to pull out just 48 hours before the tournament started.
He has missed the Asian leg of the ATP tour and is expected not to defend the Vienna Masters next month and Paris, where became world number one last year.
Murray has failed to win the Australian Open having lost the last of five finals in 2016.
Australian Open tournament director Craig Tiley said: “I can tell you that in talking to Andy, he has been training and he is preparing for having a great year in 2018.
“How much would this year have hurt him, to watch over the entire year Roger [Federer]and Rafa [Nadal] share four grand slam titles — he would not have like that.
“As competitive as Andy is, we know he’s back and he’ll want to improve his current ranking of number three in the world and getting back to number one.”
The 30-year-old Scot is expected to be joined in Melbourne by a host of other top players, who have missed much of this season.
Serena Williams gave birth to a baby girl in September. She won her 23rd Grand Slam title in Australia in January while eight weeks pregnant.
Former world number one Novak Djokovic has been out since picking up an elbow injury at Wimbledon, while Stan Wawrinka has been nursing a knee problem.
"All the top players will be back in Melbourne," Tiley added. "[Williams] wants to come back in 2018 and defend her title. Obviously, at training now, there is several months to go and it will be up to her as far as where she is with her fitness."
Image: Getty Images/Clive Brunskill
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