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By Richard Pagliaro | Sunday, December 27, 2020

Andy Murray

Five-time Australian Open finalist Andy Murray has been given a wild card into the 2021 AO main draw.

Photo credit: Mark Peterson/Corleve

Andy Murray will make his Melbourne return.

The five-time Australian Open finalist has been awarded a wild card into the 2021 AO main draw, Australian Open tournament director Craig Tiley announced.

More: Murray Receives Delray Beach Wild Card

Continuing his comeback from hip surgery, Murray will warm up for Melbourne playing next month's Delray Beach Open before returning to the Australian Open for the first time since 2019.

“We welcome Andy back to Melbourne with open arms,” Tiley said. “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."

The 33-year-old Murray will be making his 14th appearance in Melbourne.

Tennis Express

Murray is one of eight main draw wild card recipients to be announced today, joining Aussies Thanasi Kokkinakis, Alex Bolt, Aleksandar Vukic, Destanee Aiava and Arina Rodionova.

“I’m super happy and thankful to have gotten a wild card 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.”

India’s Sumit Nagal and Wang Xiyu of China will also compete in the main draw after being named recipients of the tournament’s Asia-Pacific wild cards.

These players join Daria Gavrilova, Astra Sharma, Christopher O’Connell, Maddison Inglis, Lizette Cabrera and Marc Polmans, who were announced as AO 2021 main-draw wildcards prior to Christmas.

It will be Murray's first appearance in Melbourne since 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."

The two-time Olympic gold-medal champion received a rousing send-off that night in 2019 and his return 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," Tiley said. “We wish him all the best and look forward to seeing him in 2021.”

The three-time Grand Slam champion 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 at Melbourne Park.


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