Five-time runner-up Andy Murray will make his first Australian Open appearance in three years after being awarded a wildcard into next month’s event.
Open boss Craig Tiley says the former world No.1 is a worthy recipient despite languishing at 134th in the rankings in his ongoing battle to revive past glories after multiple career-saving hip surgeries.
“As a five-time finalist, Andy Murray has had so many memorable moments at the Australian Open,” Tiley said on Thursday.
“He’s renowned for his fighting spirit, passion and love of the game and I’m delighted to welcome him back to Melbourne in January.
Five-time finalist @andy_murray is awarded a main draw wildcard.
“Andy is renowned for his fighting spirit, passion and love of the game and I’m delighted to welcome him back to Melbourne in January.” – @CraigTiley
— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) December 23, 2021
“His heroic exploits have made him a firm fan favourite here at Melbourne Park.”
“I’m really excited to be back playing at the Australian Open and grateful to Craig [Tiley] and the team for the opportunity,” Murray said.
“I’ve had some great times in Australia playing in front of the amazing crowds and I can’t wait to step back out on court at Melbourne Park.”
Murray was runner-up for a first time in Melbourne to Roger Federer in 2010.
He has since lost further title deciders to Novak Djokovic in 2011, 2013, 2015 and 2016.
Three of the great Scott’s other eight Open defeats also came against Djokovic, Federer and fellow former world No.1 Rafael Nadal.
But the 34-year-old hasn’t contested an Australian Open since tearfully conceding after his 2019 exit that he’d have to retire because his body was failing him.
Three years on and Murray is still toiling away.
The dual Wimbledon champion and three-time major winner enjoyed somewhat of a renaissance in 2021, claiming two top-10 scalps while compiling a respectable 15-14 win-loss record.
Murray also pushed then-world No.3 Stefanos Tsitsipas to five epic sets in his most recent grand slam, the US Open in August.
The Australian Open runs from January 17 to 30.