In 2019, Andy Murray was sent off by Australian Open organizers with a touching retirement tribute video following his five-set defeat to Roberto Bautista Agut in the first round.
It turned out to be just a tad premature, as Murray underwent a successful resurfacing on his right hip. He returned four months later to win the doubles title at Queen’s Club and by October, was back in the singles winner’s circle thanks to his Antwerp triumph.
Murray was due to compete at Melbourne Park in 2021, after the five-time finalist was extended a wild card. But his much-anticipated return Down Under was put in serious doubt when Murray tested positive for COVID-19 last week, and after consulting with Tennis Australia, the 33-year-old confirmed Friday that he will not play the first major of the season.
“Gutted to share that I won’t be flying out to Australia to compete at the Australian Open,” his statement read.
“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.”
The three-time Grand Slam winner isn’t the only player to have Australia plans impacted by the coronavirus. Former semifinalist Madison Keys ruled herself out following a positive test, before rising Spaniard Alejandro Davidovich Fokina also disclosed he and his coach tested positive and were reviewing alternative calendar options with ATP Challenger events.
Murray ended 2020 on a three-match losing streak, ultimately cutting the season short in mid-October to address an ongoing pelvic problem.