A shattered Andy Murray is desperately hoping for a Wimbledon swan song but concedes the Australian Open may be his last tournament with a chronic hip injury forcing him to confront retirement.
Murray was in tears on Friday when he made the announcement, briefly walking out of a media conference to gather his composure.
Britain's only men's singles champion in more than 80 years intends to play in the season-opening major at Melbourne Park and hopes to bid farewell to his legion of fans at The All England Club in July.
But after slipping to No.230 after last year's hip surgery, the former world No.1 said there was a chance he wouldn't make it beyond the Open starting on Monday.
"I'm not feeling good. I've obviously been struggling for a long time," the 31-year-old said.
"I've been in a lot of pain for probably about 20 months now.
"I can still play to a level, (although) not a level that I'm happy playing at. But it's not just that - the pain is too much really.
"I don't want to continue playing that way. I've tried pretty much everything to get it right and that hasn't worked."
Murray's triumphs at the 2012 US Open and Wimbledon in 2013 and 2016 ensured he was no longer the bridesmaid of men's tennis, cementing his status as a member of the 'big four' alongside Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic.
The Scotsman's breakthrough at Flushing Meadows - becoming the first British man to win a major since 1936 - came after being a grand-slam runner-up four times.
A record five-time Australian Open runner-up, the hobbled champion is long odds to survive this year's first round, having drawn 22nd seed Roberto Bautista Agut.
Murray said he had reflected on his future while training earlier in the summer.
"I spoke to my team and I told them that I can't keep doing this, that I needed to have an end point because I was just playing with no idea when the pain was going to stop," he said.
"I said to my team 'I think I can get through this until Wimbledon' ... that's where I would like to stop playing. But I'm also not certain I'm able to do that."
Murray said he would seriously consider having surgery to have his "severely damaged" right hip resurfaced but the father of two daughters stressed it would be to improve his quality of life - not to prolong his playing career.
"There's little things day-to-day that are also a struggle ... putting shoes on, socks on, things like that," he said.
"I've talked a lot - way too much - about my hip. Everyone that I bump into, that's all I talk about and it's pretty draining.
"I've spoken a number of times to psychologists about it but nothing helps because you're in lots and lots of pain.
"You can't do what is that you want to do and you love doing ... it's just not fun - not enjoyable doing it anymore."
Social media was awash with tributes, with fellow former world No.1 Andy Roddick praising Murray as "an absolute legend".
"Short list of best tacticians in history. Unreal results in a brutal era," Roddick tweeted.