MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - JANUARY 14: Andy Murray of Great Britain thanks the crowd after losing his first round match against Roberto Bautista Agut of Spain during day one of the 2019 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on January 14, 2019 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Fred Lee/Getty Images)
Tennis | Australian Open 2021 | Andy Murray ‘devastated’ to miss this year’s Australian Open
Murray, 33, was to fly out to Melbourne last week, but missed the Tennis Australia arranged charter flight after testing positive for COVID-19. He had hoped to self-isolate and see if anything could be arranged to fly out later than planned, quarantine and then compete, but he would have missed the week of warm-up events which start on 31 January.
He believed he had the symptoms earlier in the year, but when he was tested, he was asymptomatic and has since come out of self-isolation, but the challenge of finding his way to Australia and submitting to their rigorous quarantine arrangements proved to be too much to be ready for the 8 February start date.
As reported by BBC Sport, Murray said: “We’ve been in constant dialogue with Tennis Australia to try and find a solution which would allow some form of workable quarantine, but we couldn’t make it work.
“I want to thank everyone there for their efforts. I’m devastated not to be playing out in Australia. It’s a country and tournament that I love.”
Murray’s comeback, since his tearful press conference at the 2019 Australian Open where he thought he might have to retire, has suffered a number of setbacks, as well as notable highs, such as winning the doubles title with Feliciano Lopez at Queen’s Club and a singles title in Antwerp later that same year.
However, in 2020 he was only able to play seven tour matches, due to a pelvic injury and of course the impact of a five-month suspension of the tennis tours due t the global pandemic.
The five-time finalist was granted a wildcard into the main draw – he is currently ranked No. 123 in the world and would have failed to make the direct entry cut.
Where will Andy Murray play next?
This may actually be a blessing in disguise for Murray, at least as far as 2021 is concerned. His options would have been to train in his room as he would not have been able to train as others have under the special dispensation that Tennis Australia secured for players arriving in Melbourne last week.
We have seen that players in their peak who are in a hard lockdown are concerned about even playing the warm-up events in the week preceding, so it would be a tall ask, even for a three-time Slam champion like Murray, to go into the Australian Open with no court time on either 8 or 9 February for his first round match.
His options now could be to prepare for the tournaments in Europe, which might make travel options a little easier – Montpelier and Rotterdam are the next two on the list and he has reached the quarter-final twice at Rotterdam.
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Which Brits are going to be playing at this year’s Australian Open
Even without Murray, there will be plenty of British interest on show, with their best performances listed.
Dan Evans – Second round (2019, 2020)
Cameron Norrie – First round (2019, 2020)
Johanna Konta – Semi-final (2016)
Heather Watson – Third round (2013)
Katie Boulter – Second round (2019)
Francesca Jones – Debut
In the doubles Jamie Murray will be re-partnering with Bruno Soares with whom he won his maiden Men’s Doubles Slam title at the Australian Open and backing it up with the US Open title that same year.
Other British doubles hopefuls will be Jonny O’Mara, Luke Bambridge, Neil Skupski, Ken Skupski and Dominic Inglot who have all been out practicing during their first week of quarantine.
The Australian Open will take place between 8-21 February.
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