Currently ranked third in the world, Andy Murray is expected to see his position rapidly decline in the next few weeks. Just before the US Open's start, he was forced to call an end to the season due to a lingering hip injury that had prevented him from playing his best tennis. During the first part of the year leading up to the 2017 french open run, his hip issue was partially neglected for a while, which ultimately made things worse. Losing the world's No. 1 ranking to Rafael Nadal was the ugliest part of the whole ordeal, but Murray saw himself with no choice in the matter.

His decision to withdraw from the 2017 US Open after the draw came out created some debate. Once the dust settled, it became clear that he will need a decent amount of time off for him to be able to make a full recovery. Thus, the 2018 season may be the most crucial part of his remaining time as a professional player. If he resumes playing and the results don't show up in the first few months, he could end up somewhere outside the top 10 or maybe even top 20 in the ATP world rankings.

The best option for a complete recovery offers no guarantees for 2018

Deciding to skip the rest of 2017 to give their body a proper time for healing, whether we talk about Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray, Stan Wawrinka or Kei Nishikori, they all went for the safer option even though there is no guarantee of success.

It did work for Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, but that doesn't mean it will apply to others. It's a risky approach to stay away from the competitive arena for several months in a row. The body, as well as the mind, may get some unwanted rust in the process.

Moreover, all these tremendous ATP players won't benefit from a privileged ranking status.

That will put them in dangerous territory as they collide with top-seeded players early in the contest. Of course, that would only apply for the first few weeks of 2018. If the results don't start flowing in, their uncertain status might prolong itself even further.

Andy Murray didn't have the chance to enjoy his reign

Outpacing Novak Djokovic in the late stages of 2016 put Andy Murray was in a position where the summit of his sport was well within range.

Stepping up to claim the opportunity he was craving for, Murray ended the year as the world's No. 1 tennis player. At that time, it was all about him and Djokovic. Thus, it seemed that the 2017 season would be all about Andy Murray, especially in its first half. As the world's No. 1, he failed to deliver even before the hip injury. Winning a single ATP 500 title while on top of the rankings means his reign was extremely poor regarding achievements. His best result happened at the most unlikely place as he reached the semis at the 2017 French Open before losing to Stan Wawrinka. His last official match in 2017 took place at Wimbledon, a quarterfinals match in which he lost to Sa Querrey.