SOMETIMES they say you don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone.

Something me and my ever-thinning thatch can testify to. A reluctant trip to the barber’s yesterday saw me, quite literally, go for a hair cut. After about half an hour of toing and froing the deposits of greying fluff scattered around my throne looked as plentiful as a Cappielow half-time buffet.

The four hairs left on my head aren't much better.

The phrase ‘you must have had a hard paper round’ is often trotted out in my direction in the office when I come hobbling in with my walking stick and slippers. ‘No,’ I reply, ‘I’ve just watched quite a bit of Andy Murray.’

The fact most of my barnet turned 50 shades of grey before my 30th birthday undeniably was down to my poor taste when it comes to sporting loyalties. A Scottish football fan who supports Motherwell and likes Andy Murray. Dear lord I had no chance.

As much as I may not be ageing well, the World No.1 tennis player, who shares the same year as birth as this decaying hack, is beginning to show signs of wear and tear as well.

Amid the furore surrounding the sexism debate at his post-quarter-final press conference, the fuss being made over Johanna Konta and not to mention Novak Djokovic’s departure along with Rafa Nadal, it’s almost been missed that our brave lad is suffering a bit.

And it’s no wonder.

It’s been a long, old slog for Murray in what has undoubtedly been a turbulent spell as the best tennis player in the world. Since claiming that crown at the tail end of last year, the 30-year-old has only claimed one title - the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships back in March - while getting to the semis in Barcelona and Roland Garros have given some glimpses of promise to contrast with disappointments like his exit at Queen’s in the first round.

Of course, it’s not down to lack of effort. Quite the opposite.

Murray has pushed his body to extraordinary limits over the years and has paid the price. In 2013 he underwent back surgery, he has previously suffered knee complaints and now a specialist has been quoted in the last few days as saying he could be out for up to six months if he wishes to go under the knife to fix his hip.

It is difficult, as any Andy Murray fan will confess, to look at the Scot in even the same light as a year ago on the road to winning Wimbledon.

When one turns 30 you take stock and Murray will have been no different. Indeed, he did so while being top of the world - I did it while eating a cheeseburger and a cake, who’s the winner eh? But given the punishment put on his body both as an individual and for his country both at the Olympics and in the Davis Cup, it’s time to say enough is enough and change course.

Roger Federer is living proof of what can be achieved if you look after yourself and it’s an example Murray has to follow. For all his sheer bloody-mindedness, spirit, work ethic and talent, it’s something he has clearly had to work at. Is his body built to cope with the strain it is currently under? His latest SW19 exit would suggest not.

Are his best days behind him? Of course not. Is his time as world No.1 coming to an end? Most probably. But you know what? It doesn’t matter. Murray must now put his body first if he is to achieve even more accolades in tennis and push his career beyond another couple of years.

For the sake of his body, and that of my four hairs, I hope he listens to it.