Andy Murray to make Australian Open return after getting wildcard

Andy Murray has been awarded a wildcard for February’s Australian Open. The main draw entry for the first grand slam of 2021 comes two years after the former world No 1 and five-times runner-up in Melbourne played what he feared would be his final match there, losing in the first round to Roberto Bautista Agut.

“We welcome Andy back to Melbourne with open arms,” tournament director Craig Tiley said. “His retirement was an emotional moment and seeing him come back, having undergone major surgery and built himself back up to get on to the tour again, will be a highlight of AO 2021.”

Thanasi Kokkinakis also picked up a wildcard. The Australian has endured his own injury struggles and has not played a tour match since the 2019 US Open.

But the one-time world No 69 and Davis Cup star did win a pair of UTR Pro Tennis Series events at Melbourne Park last month, a sign he is finding form at just the right time.

Kokkinakis missed the 2020 Open due to glandular fever, having finally regained full fitness in the lead-up.

“I’m super happy and thankful to have gotten a wildcard into the AO,” Kokkinakis said. “Shattered I couldn’t play this year due to illness but I’m feeling great now and can’t wait to get out in front of the home crowd and have some fun.”

The Australian Open has been pushed back three weeks to start on 8 February because of Covid-19.

Murray went on to have hip resurfacing surgery in January last year but made his comeback to win the Antwerp title nine months later. The three-times grand slam champion missed most of the 2020 season owing to complications with his hip and struggled for form on his return after the Covid-19 hiatus. He lost in the second round at the US Open and the opening round at the French Open.

The 33-year-old will begin the season at the Delray Beach Open next month after accepting a wildcard for the ATP 250 tournament.


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