Andy Murray has been granted a wild card for next month’s Australian Open, as the former world No1 bids to challenge for Grand Slam titles again.
Murray is a five-time finalist in Melbourne and indicated he had been willing to enter qualifying in order to compete again in January 2022.
But organisers have spared the injury-plagued 34-year-old the extra workload, handing him entry to the main draw of the men’s singles competition.
“I’m really excited to be back playing at the Australian Open,” said Murray. “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 reached the final of the Australian Open in 2010, 2011, 2013, 2015 and 2016. He lost the first to six-time winner Roger Federer and the following four to nine-time champion Novak Djokovic.
The Briton had been due to play the event last year until a positive test for Covid-19 forced him to pull out. After a stuttering start to the season, he achieved some notable wins over top-10 ranked opponents Hubert Hurkacz and Jannik Sinner towards the end of the campaign nut failed to turn them into prolonged runs at a tournament.
Last week he beat Rafael Nadal in the Mubadala World Tennis Championship, an exhibition event in Abu Dhabi, but lost to Andrey Rublev in the final.
Murray, who has defied the odds to continue playing following two career-threatening hip operations, is now ranked 134 in the world but is understood to believe he can climb high enough to be seeded at Grand Slams again and perhaps make it into latter stages at those events.
“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,” said Australian Open tournament director Craig Tiley.
The Australian Open begins on Monday 17 January and is due to finish on Sunday 30 January.