Andy Murray handed wildcard for Australian Open

Former world No 1 has finished runner-up in Melbourne five times

Andy Murray will return to the Australian Open next month, three years after playing what he feared would be the final match of his career.

The 34-year-old has accepted a wild card for the tournament as he looks to extend a record which has seen him finish runner-up in Melbourne five times.

Murray lost to Roberto Bautista Agut in the first round in 2019, shortly after revealing he was set to undergo hip surgery.

After the match Murray said: “It’s an amazing place to play tennis. If it was my last match, it was an amazing way to end.”

Murray withdrew from the tournament in 2020 and earlier this year he also had to pull out at the last minute after testing positive for coronavirus.

However Murray has continued to battle back towards the top 100, most notably in pushing Stefanos Tsitsipas to five sets in a US Open first-round defeat in September.

Australian Open tournament director Craig Tiley said: “As a five-time finalist, Andy Murray has had so many memorable moments at the Australian Open

“He’s renowned for his fighting spirit, passion and love of the game and I’m delighted to welcome him back in Melbourne in January.

“His heroic exploits have made him a firm fan favourite here at Melbourne Park.”

The former world No 1 has just competed in the Mubadala World Tennis Championship in Abu Dhabi where he defeated Dan Evans and Rafael Nadal before losing to Andrey Rublev in the final.

"It was a good week for me," Murray said. "I played three matches against completely different styles so that was positive. It was good to see where my body’s at, playing at that sort of intensity.

"I learned quite a lot across the three matches. Certainly some things improved as the week went on, and there are things to work on, but it was good."

Updated: December 23rd 2021, 1:06 PM