Andy Murray ‘Gutted’ He Won’t Be Playing In Melbourne

Andy Murray (photo: @the_LTA/Twitter)

WASHINGTON, January 23, 2021 (by Michael Dickens)

Five-time Australian Open finalist Andy Murray will not play in next month’s first major of the 2021 season. On Friday, the British No. 4 Murray admitted he was“gutted” to admit his setback in his bit to play in this year’s Australian Open. Murray, who is currently ranked No. 123 in the world, was unable to find a solution that would enable him to train in Melbourne during the mandatory two-week quarantine period that all players are subject to.

“Gutted to share that I won’t be flying out to Australia to compete at the Australian Open,” Murray said in a statement. “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.”

In 13 previous Australian Open tournaments, Murray compiled a lifetime 48-13 win-loss record. “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,” he said.

Murray disclosed earlier this month he had tested positive for COVID-19, which meant he was unable to fly to Melbourne on one of the 17 chartered flights Tennis Australia arranged last week which departed from Los Angeles, Doha and Dubai. Players were required to produce a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours of their departure for Australia.

As Tumaini Carayol of The Guardian of London reported, “Murray, who was asymptomatic, has since completed his period of isolation and he is able to resume training. While some other players briskly signified their intention to withdraw from the tournament, Murray retained hope of competing in Melbourne Park, where he is a five-times finalist. He and his team held discussions with the Tennis Australia chief executive, Craig Tiley, and were hopeful they would be able to arrange a modified 14-day quarantine. They were unable to come to an acceptable arrangement.”

Coming soon: Think About It podcast with Vika

On Friday, former World No. 1 and two-time Australian Open champion Victoria Azarenka announced the launch of a new talk show and podcast series, “Think About It,” on Tennis Channel. The six-episode first season debut on January 27 and feature “intimate and honest conversations with inspiring guests.”

The 31-year-old Azarenka is one o f“unlucky” 72 players who are under a strict 14-day quarantine, unable to leave her hotel room to practice, after arriving last week in Melbourne after being in close contact with a passenger on her flight from Los Angeles who tested positive for COVID-19.

According to Azarenka, “Think About It” has been in development for the past nine months. The entire series will be released in both audio and video on Tennis Channel and other podcast platforms. She said: “I wasn’t planning on releasing it just yet, but being stuck in quarantine, it might be perfect timing. I’m very nervous about it, but also really excited for people to hear and see it.

“I hope you find it a little inspiring in these challenging times.”

(Note, as someone who has had the opportunity to interview the outspoken Azarenka many times after the relaunch of the WTA Tour last summer following the coronavirus pandemic interruption, I have always found Vika to be one of the most refreshing and interesting players to talk to. Azarenka will fill your notebook with thoughtful insights – and, she doesn’t sugar-coat things. Vika always gives you an honest answer to your questions and tells it like it is.)

ATP Cup: Tennis that means the world

ATP Cup: An observation

With the ATP Cup group draw announced Friday in Melbourne, it prompted an observation from longtime New York Times tennis correspondent Christopher Clarey about the fate of United States men’s tennis:

The further branding of Naomi Osaka

It’s gotta be the shoes, right?

Whatever happened to Jack Sock?

What they’re writing

Mike Dickson of London’s The Daily Mail profiles British teen sensation Arthur Fery.

What they’re sharing on social media

Kei Nishikori / He has his own app now

Barbora Strycova / Putting a little dance into her cardio workout

Stan Wawrinka / Practice day in Melbourne