Published On: Wed, Oct 9th, 2019

Novak Djokovic makes bold Andy Murray prediction after Australian Open return confirmed | Tennis | Sport

Novak Djokovic believes Andy Murray can return to the top of men’s tennis again after it was announced he will play at the Australian Open.

Tournament director Craig Tiley revealed on Tuesday that Murray was gearing up to play at the tournament in 2020, a year after his emotional defeat to Roberto Bautista Agut when it was thought he was on the verge of retirement.

“For sure Andy will be here,” Tiley told the Australian radio station Triple M.

“I was on the phone to his agent this morning. He is going to be in Australia early.

“He is ready to return. Remember he said goodbye a year ago.

“It’s great in that period he had surgery and has rebounded really well.”

But days after losing to Bautista Agut, Murray underwent surgery on his hip, had several months of rehab and returned to action in doubles at Queen’s Club and played at Wimbledon.

Murray has since stepped up his playing schedule, competing in singles over the past few weeks and it has given him the confidence to confirm his intention to play in Australia in January.

Djokovic was asked for his reaction to the Murray announcement and the Serbian expressed his delight for the Scotsman.

He said: “It’s very pleasantly surprising to see him playing now many tournaments in a row without having any health issues. At least not anything major.

“He seems to be building his confidence and he’s working his way up. Regardless of his ranking currently, he’s a great champion and one of the greats of this game.

“So if he’s healthy, you can definitely expect him to play at the highest level very soon. You know, I wish him that. It’s great to see him back.

“I mean, obviously it was a very emotional Australian Open this year for him and for many tennis fans, but it seemed like it was too early to say good-bye, and it’s great to have him back.”

On Tuesday, Murray was beaten by Fabio Fognini in the second round after a fractious three-set match.

He will return to action at the European Open in Antwerp, where Kyle Edmund is the defending champion.

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