Andy Murray will only play at next year's Australian Open if his back has recovered enough for him to win the title.
Wimbledon champion Murray, runner-up to Novak Djokovic in Melbourne this year, ended his season early last month when he had surgery on his lower back and will miss the ATP World Tour finals in London next week.
The world number four has begun his rehabilitation but said he will not be taking any risks.
"You don't come back just to play a match," Murray was quoted on the BBC's website on Thursday. "If I come back I want to be in the shape to win it."
"I'd be disappointed to miss the Australian Open because it's a grand slam - it's a tournament all the players want to play in," added the 26-year-old.
"I can look at this in a lot of positive ways, if I do get myself ready for it I will have had a long lead up and training block to get myself in the best possible shape."
Murray also missed the French Open with back problems but said surgery had been a tough decision.
"It was a hard decision to have surgery, to realise I was going to miss a period of time was frustrating," he said.
"You realise how much you miss from competition where you're away from it. It will be hard missing London, but I'll just have to make the best of it."