Andy Murray set for grand slam return at Australian Open

Andy Murray set for grand slam return at Australian Open

Andy Murray will be welcomed back to the Australian Open in January a year after the tournament bade him an emotional farewell.

Tournament director Craig Tiley confirmed the former world number one, who can enter events using a protected ranking of two, will be in Melbourne for the first grand slam of 2020.

“For sure Andy will be here,” Tiley told Australian radio station Triple M on Tuesday. “I was on the phone to his agent this morning. He is going to be in Australia early.

“He is ready to return. Remember he said goodbye a year ago. It’s great in that period he had surgery and has rebounded really well.”

The former world number one had career-saving hip surgery earlier this year and continued his good progress by reaching the China Open quarter-finals last week.

He battled to another victory over Argentinian, Juan Ignacio Londero, in the first round of the Shanghai Masters on Monday and was due to face Fabio Fognini in the second round on Tuesday.

It was at the Australian Open earlier this year that Murray finally made public the full extent of his hip problems and tearfully announced that he was contemplating retirement.

He raised the possibility of undergoing a resurfacing operation – which he did at the end of January – but that did not stop the tournament playing a video of his fellow stars bidding him farewell moments after he had told the crowd he hoped to be back.

It was undoubtedly a little awkward but, speaking to reporters in Shanghai, Murray said: “The good thing about when I watched it was I really saw this is a major surgery. Things can go wrong, this is not always very successful.

“It was important for me to watch that because when you’re younger you think you’re going to be fine.”

Andy Murray has shown encouraging form and fitness in Asia (Mark Schiefelbein/AP)
Andy Murray has shown encouraging form and fitness in Asia (Mark Schiefelbein/AP)

Murray made his singles comeback in August after playing doubles for two months and, although it is still early days, his form in Asia indicates that a return to the top of the game is not impossible.

He will compete in Antwerp next week and then could take a break before the Davis Cup finals in Madrid in November, where he is set to be part of the British team.

The Scot will kick off the 2020 season by representing his country again at the inaugural ATP Cup in Australia.

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