Murray 'gutted' to miss Aussie Open

LONDON • Former world No. 1 Andy Murray said he was "gutted" after deciding to withdraw from next month's Australian Open following a positive test for Covid-19 earlier this month.

The 33-year-old, a wild card, confirmed last week that he had been infected with the disease and was in self-isolation at his home near London.

That meant he was unable to take one of the charter flights laid on by Australian Open organisers, leaving him facing a race to be able to arrive in time to complete the mandatory 14-day quarantine period as per health protocols.

"Gutted to share that I won't be flying out to Australia to compete at the Australian Open," the three-time Grand Slam tennis champion said on Friday.

"We've been in constant dialogue... to try and find a solution which would allow some form of workable quarantine, but we couldn't make it work."

Even if the Scot had managed to arrive in time, he would have faced going into the event with minimal time to practise.

"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 added.

It is another blow to the five-time Australian Open runner-up who last played at the Melbourne tournament in 2019.

On that occasion, after a first-round defeat by Spaniard Roberto Bautista Agut, he received an emotional farewell on the court as it appeared his career was coming to a close because of a longstanding hip injury.

After another round of surgery, however, he returned to the Tour later in 2019 and even claimed a title in Antwerp. Last year he played only seven Tour-level matches because of more injuries and the disruption caused by the pandemic - ending his season in October after a pelvic problem.

Murray has not gone past the second round of a Grand Slam since 2017 after being plagued by the hip injury. His last Slam final appearance came when he won Wimbledon in 2016.​

  • 2017 The last time Andy Murray reached the second round of a Grand Slam.

    Matches Murray played on the ATP Tour the whole of last year.

Currently ranked 123rd in the world, he had pulled out of the season-opening Delray Beach Open in Florida earlier this month to reduce the risk of contracting the coronavirus.

Seventy-two players are currently confined to their rooms in Melbourne after they travelled on three flights where positive cases were found on arrival.

The tournament is scheduled to start on Feb 8, three weeks later than usual.

REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on January 24, 2021, with the headline 'Murray 'gutted' to miss Aussie Open'. Subscribe