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Andy Murray 'set to return in Australian Open'

October 11, 2017

Andy Murray will be back in Grand Slam action at the Australian open after taking a rest from the sport to mend his long-term hip problem, tournament director Craig Tiley has said. 

Mr Tiley said that Murray would be one of a number of stars on course to be back in action in Melbourne after a series of top male players were injured over the course of this year and Serena Williams took time off to have a baby.

Serena is also expected to feature, as is Novak Djokovic, Stan Wawrinka and Kei Nishikori, all of whom are sitting out the rest of this year.

An initial tweet listing the expected return of so many top stars did, however, cause a social media storm as Djokovic was left off it, causing many fans to ask how a man who had won the men's singles in Melbourne a record-equalling six times could have been ignored. However, Mr Tiley later said that Djokovic is expected to be there, with Ms Williams, who was also left off the tweet, expected to have got herself back in shape to play after giving birth to her daughter.

Mr Tiley added there is "also a real chance we’ll finally see a breakthrough from one of the rising stars like Alexander Zverev, Dominic Thiem or David Goffin".

While the Djokovic faux pas may have caused a brief ripple of consternation, Murray fans will be delighted by the indication that their man will be fit and ready for another tilt at finally winning a Grand Slam where he has been runner-up five times. 

Mr Tiley said of Murray: "I can tell you that in talking to Andy, he has been training and he is preparing for having a great year in 2018.

"How much would this year have hurt him, to watch over the entire year Roger [Federer] and Rafa [Nadal] share four Grand Slam titles - he would not have liked that.

"As competitive as Andy is, we know he's back and he'll want to improve his current ranking of number three in the world and getting back to number one."

Fans hoping to see him in competitive action in Britain may have to wait a little longer, although he is still expected to turn out for a charity exhibition game against Roger Federer in the Andy Murray Live event in Glasgow next month. 

However, corporate hospitality is now available for the Championships, Wimbledon, where the two-time champion will be hoping he can add a third title next year to match the haul of Fred Perry, Britain's previous male Wimbledon champion. 

Murray may not be the only Briton hoping for a career reboot at the start of 2018. Johanna Konta, who has reached the semi-finals of both the Australian Open and Wimbledon, will also be hoping to start next year well after her recent slump in form that looks like costing her a place at the WTA Tour Finals in Singapore.

If the two British stars can make a big impression down under, there will be even more reason for home fans to get excited ahead of Wimbledon, as Britain will have genuine hopes in both the gentlemen's and ladies' singles.

Image: Getty, from Keith Prowse subscription

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