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By Richard Pagliaro | Thursday, January 14, 2021

 
Andy Murray

Andy Murray's highly-anticipated Australian Open return is now on pause after the three-time Grand Slam champion tested positive for Coronavirus.

Photo credit: Mark Peterson/Corleve

Andy Murray will have to press pause on his Australian Open return.

The former world No. 1 tested positive for Coronavirus putting his participation in next month's AO highly unlikely.

Murray was scheduled to fly to Melbourne in the next couple of days. Now, he is quarantining in his London home.




The 33-year-old Murray is reportedly feeling good and remains hopeful to play the AO, which is set to start on February 8th. Based on the AO's twitter response that seems unlikely though as far as we know Murray it not yet officially withdrawn.

The three-time Grand Slam champion, who has been awarded a wild card into the Melbourne major, is hoping to be permitted to travel to Australia at a later date and play the season's first Grand Slam event.

More: Sandgren Permitted to Fly to Australia

Tennys Sandgren, who self-disclosed he tested positive for COVID-19 last November, was permitted to fly to Australia by authorities.




Murray is aiming to make his 14th AO appearance. He withdrew from the Delray Beach Open in an effort to minimize his risk of contracting Coronavirus. Murray is one of eight main draw wild card recipients Tennis Australia announced last montht, joining Aussies Thanasi Kokkinakis, Alex Bolt, Aleksandar Vukic, Destanee Aiava and Arina Rodionova.

The two-time Olympic gold medal champion's last appearance in Melbourne was his emotional 2019 first-round loss to Roberto Bautista Agut in what the former world No. 1 believed was his final AO appearance as he struggled with his movement following hip surgery.

In the waning stages of Bautista Agut's 6-4, 6-4, 6-7 (5), 6-7 (4), 6-2 Australian Open first-round win over Murray, the entire crowd—including mom Judy Murray and brother Jamie Murray—stood and showered Murray with a sustained ovation.

An emotional Murray responded waving his Head racquet in response.

"Amazing," Murray told former coach Mark Petchey, who conducted the on-court interview. "I think I'm gonna be all right. That was incredible. Thank you so, so much to everyone who came out tonight. I've honestly loved playing here over the years. It's an amazing place to play tennis.

"If this was my last match I gave literally everything I had. It wasn't enough tonight. Congratulations to Roberto and his team. Maybe I'll see you again. I'll do everything possible to try. If I want to go again I'll need to have a big operation, which is no guarantee I'll be able to come back but I'll give it my best shot. Thanks again. Cheers."

Murray received a rousing send-off that night in 2019 and his return—if it it happens next month—should be moving.

“His retirement was an emotional moment and seeing him come back, having undergone major surgery and built himself back up to get onto the tour again, will be a highlight of AO 2021," AO tournament director Craig Tiley said last month. “We wish him all the best and look forward to seeing him in 2021.”

Tennis Express

Murray conceded he thought his competitive career could be done prior to his comeback from hip resurfacing surgery he underwent on January 28th, 2019 following that tearful Australian Open exit.

It was Murray's second hip surgery in a year. Nearly 10 months after his second surgery, Murray claimed his 46th career title and first since Dubai in February of 2017 when he fought off Stan Wawrinka, 3-6 6-4 6-4 in front of a packed house at the European Open in Antwerp. Murray concluded 2019 with an 11-7 record earning ATP Comeback Player of the Year honors.

At the Western & Southern Open last August, Murray surprised fifth-seeded Alexander Zverev 6-3, 3-6, 7-5 scoring his first Top 10 win in three years.

It was Murray's first Top 10 win since he defeated ninth-ranked Kei Nishikori in the 2017 Roland Garros quarterfinals. 

The 2021 Australian Open is set for February 8-21st.

Roger Federer, John Isner, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Cristian Garin are among the prominent players who have already withdrawn from the AO.

 

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