Tagged in: wildcard

Andy Murray handed Australian Open main draw wildcard with Brit hailed by tournament chief

Andy Murray has been awarded a wildcard into the main draw of the Australian Open. A five-time finalist in Melbourne, the former world No 1 has not played the event since 2019, when he announced that he would likely be playing his last tournament and retiring over his hip injury.

The three-time Grand Slam champion has since made a comeback from a hip resurfacing surgery he underwent shortly after, and now goes into 2022 full of confidence following a successful end to the season.

Murray has been granted a wildcard into the main draw of the Australian Open, which kicks off on January 17.

It will be his first showing at the season-opening Major since 2019, when he broke down in a press conference and admitted it could be his last tournament, following two years of struggle with a hip injury.

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After losing a thrilling five-setter to Roberto Bautista Agut in the first round – a match that sounded like it was the last of his career – Murray underwent a hip resurfacing surgery just weeks later, having a metal joint put into his hip.

The former world No 1 then came back in doubles at Queens Club in June of that year and won the title alongside Feliciano Lopez, later captivating his first post-op singles title at the European Open in October 2019.

Murray was then unable to compete in the 2020 edition of the event known as the ‘Happy Slam’ due to a pelvic injury, and missed the tournament again in 2021 after testing positive for Covid and being unable to find a “workable” quarantine.

He will finally make his long-awaited return to the site of his premature retirement next month, after being given a wildcard into the main draw.

Currently ranked at world No 134, the Brit would have needed multiple players ranked above him to withdraw before gaining entry himself. Following the news of his wildcard, the five-time runner-up thanked tournament director Craig Tiley and the organizers.

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LeRaven Clark out for season with torn Achilles, leaving Indianapolis Colts thin at LT position

The Colts could be down to their third-string left tackle for Sunday’s game at the Las Vegas Raiders.

Backup left tackle LeRaven Clark is out for the season after an MRI confirmed a torn Achilles, and there’s still no timetable on when starter Anthony Castonzo will return from his knee injury, Colts coach Frank Reich stated Monday.

Castonzo suffered a sprained MCL early in the second quarter of the Week 12 game versus Tennessee. Clark replaced Castonzo in that game and started Sunday at Houston. But Clark had to be carted off the field in the first half due to the torn Achilles.

“Tough break for us and LeRaven,” Reich said. “That’s a tough loss for us. LeRaven has come in and had a really good year. He’ll start the next steps toward recovery.” Fourth-year player Chaz Green becomes responsible for protecting quarterback Philip Rivers’ blindside. But Green, too, has been dealing with his own injury.

He missed some practice time last week due to a back injury. General manager Chris Ballard is in the process of trying to bring in some extra depth on the offensive line.

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The wildcard in this is Castonzo.

The Colts purposely did not put the veteran on the injured reserve list in case he’s able to return before the three matches he would be required to miss by going on the reserve list. The Colts will access where Castonzo is later in the week.

“[Castonzo’s] the type of player that if you’re ever going to take that chance [of not putting on IR] with at that position because of who he is,” Reich said. “Let’s not lock ourselves in case he has a speedy recovery. We haven’t ruled anything out. He’s continuing to rehab it and do everything right.”

The Colts, who are currently the seventh seed in the AFC, will try to stay in the playoff hunt potentially with a third-string left tackle trying to help a quarterback who is also isn’t healthy. Rivers, who has started 236 straight games, has been dealing with turf toe since Week 11 versus Green Bay.

He went 27-of-35 for 285 yards and two touchdowns against the Texans on Sunday. The Colts have a game lead over the Raiders for the final playoff spot in the AFC. “He’s the type of guy that unless he’s walking around in a boot, which he is, you wouldn’t know [he was injured],” Reich said.

“He’s not going to talk about it. He’s just going to go about his business. That’s just the way he’s been brought up. Do I think he’s 100%? No, he’s not 100%, but I think he’s getting better every week.”

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