Former World No 1 Andy Murray has received a wildcard for the rescheduled Australian Open, which will begin on February 8.
Placed at No 122 on the ATP charts currently, Murray would not have made the main draw cut on his ranking alone.
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The Brit has reached the Australian Open final five times, but has been unable to clinch the title. In 2019, an emotional Murray wondered if he had reached the end of his career. He was physically struggling to get back after undergoing a hip surgery and said the 2019 Australian Open could be his last tournament.
This did not stop Murray from giving everything he had against Roberto Bautista Agut in the opening round. Murray battled Agut over five sets, eventually going down 4-6, 4-6, 7-6, 7-6, 6-2.
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At the end of the match, with the talk of retirement taking precedence, the Australian Open paid an emotional video tribute to the three-time major champion, in which players like Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic and Caroline Wozniacki left heartfelt messages.
The swell of emotion that night was one of the reasons why Murray agreed to undergo a second procedure, a hip resurfacing procedure.
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“We welcome Andy back to Melbourne with open arms,” Australian open 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.”
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Though Murray won a tournament in Antwerp in 2019, he has struggled to be his best battling self on the bigger stages. He has also been dealing with a pelvic injury since the end of last year and played only seven matches this Coronavirus-affected season.
Earlier this month, during a video chat with former WTA player Daniela Hantuchova, Murray admitted that he needs to work harder to be successful in the big tournaments again.
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“I got on that machine that measures your body fat after the French Open and it wasn’t good in comparison to what I’d done when I was younger,” the 33-year-old said.
“There have definitely been times over the last few years where I lost that, just because of injuries and stuff. And I haven’t been working as hard as I needed to.
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“I may never get back to being number one in the world but I want to do everything that I did when I was number one in the world to give myself the best chance to see what I can achieve.”
Murray will start his 2021 season at the ATP Tournament in Delray Beach, who also awarded him a wildcard.