Former World No. 1 Andy Murray has been awarded a wild card into the 2021 Australian Open, tournament organizers announced on Sunday in Melbourne.
Murray is a three-time Major winner but is currently ranked No. 122 in the ATP rankings. He has reached the finals of the Australian Open on five occasions in the past, finishing second best each time.
During his last appearance at Melbourne (in 2019), Murray lost a five-set thriller to Spain's Roberto Bautista Agut in the first round. The 33-year-old broke down into tears at his post-match press conference, claiming he was not sure of his tennis future.
Andy Murray will, however, get another shot at laying his hands on the coveted trophy in 2021.
"We welcome Andy Murray back to Melbourne with open arms," Australian Open tournament director Craig Tiley said on Sunday. "As a five-time finalist he has been an integral part of so many amazing matches and storylines in the recent history of the Australian Open. His retirement was an emotional moment and seeing him come back, having undergone major surgery and build himself back up to get onto the tour again, will be a highlight of AO 2021."
Meanwhile India's Sumit Nagal has been awarded the Asia-Pacific wild card into the men's main draw. The 23-year-old Nagal is ranked No. 136 in the world currently, and will be making his first main-draw appearance at the Australian Open.
Below is a complete list of the wild cards awarded so far for the Australian Open:
Men's Main Draw Wildcards - Christopher O'Connell (AUS), Marc Polmans (AUS), Alex Bolt (AUS), Thanasi Kokkinakis (AUS), Aleksandar Vukic (AUS), Andy Murray (GBR), Sumit Nagal (IND), one WC to be determined.
Women's Main Draw Wildcards - Daria Gavrilova (AUS), Astra Sharma (AUS), Maddison Inglis (AUS), Lizette Cabrera (AUS), Arina Rodionova (AUS), Destanee Aiava (AUS), Wang Xiyu (CHN), one WC to be determined.
Andy Murray's comeback from two hip surgeries has been an inspiring story
Andy Murray has defied the odds by returning to the professional circuit despite undergoing two hip surgeries, and in the process has become a source of inspiration for many. Even 23-time Major winner Serena Williams spoke about her delight at Murray's comeback after he reached the second round of the US Open earlier this year.
"I was really happy for him,” Williams said at the US Open. “I love his grit. I've always loved that, way before we played doubles. I always said he reminds me a lot of myself. I'm just a big fan. It was really good, because I know what it's like to be down, I know what it's like to be injured, I know what it's like to be counted out. I felt like it was a real gutsy win for him and I was really happy.”
The Brit won the European Open at Antwerp in 2019 - his first ATP title since his surgeries - but a pelvic injury forced him to miss the first quarter of the 2020 season. That was followed by the tour interruption due to the pandemic, and the resumption of play Andy Murray has gone 3-4 in his tournaments.
The 33-year-old has also taken a wild card into the ATP event at Delray Beach in the first week of January. It seems Murray has made a firm commitment to fully utilize every opportunity that comes his way.Published 28 Dec 2020, 00:07 IST