'Given the increase in COVID rates and the transatlantic flights involved, I want to minimise the risks ahead of the Australian Open.'
Andy Murray has pulled out of the season-opening Delray Beach Open in Florida next week to reduce the risk of contracting COVID-19 ahead of the Australian Open in February.
Murray, who missed most of the 2020 season due to complications with his hip and struggled for form on his return after the COVID-19 hiatus, accepted a wildcard for the January 7-13 ATP 250 tournament last week.
The tournament serves as a warm-up for the Australian Open in Melbourne, which will begin three weeks later than scheduled on Feb. 8 due to COVID-19 health and safety measures.
"After much deliberation with my team I’ve decided not to travel to play in Delray Beach," Murray, 33, said on Thursday.
"Given the increase in COVID rates and the transatlantic flights involved, I want to minimise the risks ahead of the Australian Open."
Murray, a former world number one and three-times Grand Slam champion, underwent hip resurfacing surgery in January last year and has slipped to 122nd in the rankings after playing only seven matches this year.