One of the few players who was capable of bearing the ATP weight on his shoulders, Andy Murray [VIDEO] was forced into an unwanted break away from the tennis court due to an unfortunate hip injury. At the time of his withdrawal, Murray was sitting at the ATP summit being the highest ranked male player. Due to inactivity, his position went down in a dangerous spiral, and after a failed attempt to resume playing at US Open he decided to call an end to the season. Eventually, that translated into the worst year-end ranking as Andy Murray [VIDEO] belted-in the 16th spot when the 2017 curtain was dropped.

The former world No. 1 will resume his career in January in what is set to be the beginning of his last chapter as a professional tennis player.

A handful of variables that Murray has to deal with

Usually, a comeback used to be a long journey in which a player had to start from scratch. In January, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal changed the paradigm by storming right back to the top after a significant letdown in 2016. Practically, these two added up to a new standard on what a comeback story should look like. Now, Andy Murray will have to come close to that goal. Moreover, he won't be alone as others will start similar quests. Novak Djokovic and Stan Wawrinka will be joining Murray in an effort to reshape the balance of power within the ATP circuit.

The fierce competition may not be the only thing Murray will have to deal with. A former world No.1, two-time gold medalist, and three-time Grand Slam champion, Andy Murray has quite a legacy to protect and even to extend.

Murray needs an early success to boost things up

Andy Murray will join Rafael Nadal at the Brisbane International in Australia. To secure a solid foundation, the Brit will need an early success. The Australian Open might be a target too big for him at the moment. In February, he can choose from a variety of ATP 500 events. Dubai, Acapulco or Rotterdam are some potential targets. Let's not forget that Murray's sole success of 2017 occurred in Dubai.

A solid start would give him a decent position before gearing up for Indian Wells and Miami where he can cash in vital amounts of points. With little to defend at both Masters 1000 events, Murray can return to Europe in a much better shape for the 2018 clay court swing.

Earlier this year, that hip injury came to spoil a long-awaited reign. Spending years in the shadow of his rivals, Murray had finally found his own mojo. It was too bad that it didn't last long.