Tim Henman has revealed that his shoulder injury could cause him to miss the Australian Open in January.
Henman had been playing through the pain barrier in what appeared to be a futile bid to reach this season's Masters Cup in Shanghai.
The 28-year-old needed a decent run in the Paris Masters, but was beaten 6-4 6-2 in round three by local favourite Nicolas Escude.
If Spaniard Carlos Moya goes on to beat Sebastian Grosjean then Henman's only chance of qualification will be as a replacement.
But his injury may rule the British number one out of Shanghai anyway and also curtail the start of next season for him.
"I'd still like to play Shanghai, but once this season is out I'm going to make sure I get it right.
"If that means missing Australia I've just got to do it."
A disappointed Henman added: "I've been working the whole year to qualify for the event (Shanghai).
"If I was an alternate I probably wouldn't play, if I'm in it's a different story.
"Since Indianapolis it's been a struggle just trying to play continuously when you're not fit."