( dpa ) - Andy Murray has withdrawn from next week's Davis Cup World Group tie in Argentine with an injury that is likely to doom Britain in this year's tournament.
The Scot, who fell out of the top 10 ranking after a first-round loss at the Australian Open to finalist Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, is blaming a knee injury for his non-participation in a tie on clay in Buenos Aires.
The absence leaves Britain with little hope in the February 8-10 tie.
"I'm very disappointed not to be joining my Davis Cup teammates in Buenos Aires," Murray told his website.
"Following the intensive off-season training, my right knee, which has a bipartite patella, started to act up again when I returned from Australia," he said.
"We had a scan done this week and following discussions with my team, we have decided that it is better not to play in the Davis Cup tie against Argentina."
The injury drama comes a year after the 20-year-old missed much of the spring and summer season with a wrist problem.
Britain will now to rely on a patched-together squad comprising Jamie Murray, Jamie Baker and British number two Alex Bogdanovic. Doubles specialist Ross Hutchins will be the fourth man.
"Obviously, we're all hugely disappointed that Andy won't be joining us out here in South America but these things happen," captain John Lloyd said in Chile from the British training camp.
"Next week's tie will be a massive challenge for us now that we are without our number one player but we will go there and give it everything we've got."
Murray is due to play on European hardcourts in February before making his debut in Dubai at the Barclays Open.
"The experts have advised me that going from hard courts to playing five-set matches on clay and then back to indoor hard courts could increase the chances of further injury, set me back even more," Murray said.
"I don't want to take that risk."