Andy Murray
Andy Murray's Wimbledon title defence came to an end in the quarter-finals following his five-set loss to Sam QuerreyGetty

Former British number one Tim Henman believes Andy Murray should only take an extended break from tennis if it is absolutely necessary.

Murray has had a year to forget as despite winning the Dubai Open, he has failed to emulate his performances from last year that took him to the top of the rankings.

Injuries and poor form have seen the world number one crash out of the Australian Open in the fourth round, exit the French Open in the semi-final and most recently, fail to defend his Wimbledon crown after a five-set loss to Sam Querrey in the quarter-final.

With Roger Federer taking an extended break last year and reaping the rewards in 2017 along with Novak Djokovic recently deciding to follow the same example, Henman has urged Murray not to emulate them for the "hell of it".

"No, you're not going to take a break for the hell of it," he said, as quoted on Sky Sports. "Federer needed to take that break because he'd had a knee operation and his knee wasn't right."

"At the end of the day the most important thing is your health and, as I said, you can't compete at the top of the game unless you're 100% healthy or extremely close to it.

"Murray's had problems with his hip. I know that he's having a lot of tests at the moment and scans and seeing specialists to try and get to the bottom of that. And hopefully he can be back competing soon."

With the US Open approaching next month, Murray is in serious danger of losing his ranking to the in-form Federer or Rafael Nadal if he does not perform in New York.

Failure to reach the final would also make it the first time since 2009 that the Briton had failed to reach a Grand Slam final in a calendar year.

However, Henman has backed his compatriot to succeed in the final Grand Slam of the year if he is "fit and healthy" by then.

"He's got to be fit and healthy," Henman added. "The standard is so good you can't compete unless you're 100% healthy so it will be interesting to see what his schedule is in the summer and in the lead up to the US Open, but hopefully he can regain that fitness and start challenging for the biggest titles again."