Andy Murray given wildcard to Australian Open warm-up event in Sydney

Andy Murray practices ahead of Australian Open

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British tennis icon Andy Murray will play in a warm-up event in Sydney for the first time in order to ensure he is well-prepared for the Australian Open. The Melbourne event is set to be the first Grand Slam of the 2022 season – and the Brit is keen to ensure he is at full fitness.

Murray has been awarded a wildcard for the Sydney Tennis Classic, an ATP 250 event which starts on Monday. 

There is other British interest in the tournament, with compatriot Dan Evans also involved.

Murray lost his his opening match of 2022 in the Melbourne Summer Series on Tuesday, falling to world number 76 Facundo Bagnis.

The Argentine came out on top 6-3, 5-7, 6-3 to condemn Murray to a loss to bring in the new year.

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The former British and world number one has never won the Australian Open, but he has been a runner-up on five occasions.

Murray last reached the final in 2016, where he faced Novak Djokovic and lost to the Serb in straight sets.

The three-time Grand Slam winner is ranked 134th in the world as he continues to fight back following his hip surgery in January 2019. 

The operation left Murray facing retirement, and he tearfully voiced his fears at the 2019 Australian Open.

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However, Murray returned to singles action later that year but his progress has been derailed by a series of injuries and the coronavirus pandemic.

The Sydney event is also hosting a WTA 500 tournament, with US Open champion Emma Raducanu ready to start her new season after her incredible 2021.

Raducanu was set to start the season at the Melbourne Summer Set but was forced to withdraw after only just coming out of isolation following her contraction of Covid-19.

It meant the 19-year-old was forced to pull out of the Mubadala World Tennis Championship exhibition event in Abu Dhabi last month. 

Raducanu’s incredible breakthrough year was capped off as she won BBC Sports Personality of the Year and awarded an MBE in the New Year’s Honours list.

She will play in the tournament alongside 19 of the world’s top 30 in Sydney, with fellow Grand Slam champions Ash Barty, Simona Halep, Barbora Krejcikova, Garbine Muguruza and Iga Swiatek also in action.

Australian Open qualifying begins on January 10, with the full tournament kicking off a week later and concluding on January 30.

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