Tennis fans erupt over Kim Clijsters and Andy Murray announcement

Kim Clijsters and Andy Murray, pictured here in action on the tennis court.
Kim Clijsters and Andy Murray will play at Indian Wells. Image: Getty

Kim Clijsters and Andy Murray have been granted wildcards into next week's Indian Wells Masters.

Organisers for the California event announced the news on Thursday, sending fans into a frenzy.

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Clijsters, 38, and Murray, 34, are both grand slam champions who have struggled in recent years.

Belgian star Clijsters made her latest return to the sport this week, suffering defeat at the Chicago Fall Classic.

Clijsters, who accepted a wild card into the hardcourt event, was highly competitive in her first match of the season but misfired at key moments in a 6-3 5-7 6-3 loss to Taiwan's Hsieh Su-wei.

The results means the four-time grand slam champion remains without a win in four events since her comeback to the WTA Tour last year.

Clijsters was returning to action for her first match on tour since a first-round loss at last year's US Open - her initial comeback interrupted by knee surgery in October and when she got Covid-19 this January.

She made a quick start against Hsieh as she raced out to a 3-0 lead but dropped the next eight games to go behind.

But Clijsters came back from a break down to force a third set where Hsieh proved the steadier of the two in a match that lasted two hours and 18 minutes.

"Some good things, some bad things, and inconsistency," Clijsters said.

"But I think for me the most important thing is that, what I talked with my coach and my trainer about, my fitness coach, was physically being able to get through these matches without big concerns.

"That was the main goal."

Kim Clijsters and Andy Murray, pictured here at the Australian Open in 2007.
Kim Clijsters and Andy Murray at the Australian Open way back in 2007. (Photo by Aaron Francis/Getty Images)

Tennis fans erupt over Kim Clijsters and Andy Murray news

Like Clijsters, Murray is an ageing veteran striving to get back to his best tennis.

Last week he made his first quarter-final at ATP level in two years before losing to Hubert Hurkacz at the Moselle Open in Metz.

Victories over Ugo Humbert and Vasek Pospisil had seen the Scot reach the last-eight at an ATP Tour event for the first time since he won his last title in Antwerp in 2019.

But Hurkacz, who defeated Roger Federer to reach the Wimbledon semi-finals in July, proved a step too far, the Pole prevailing 7-6 (7-4) 6-3.

It marked a small step forward for the 34-year-old but he still remains outside the top 100 and is in a hurry to climb the rankings to avoid the sort of draw that saw him play Stefanos Tsitsipas in the opening round of the US Open.

"I think I played better this week than I did in Cincinnati and Winston-Salem, for example," said Murray.

"I did play a pretty good match at the US Open. But I'm not that interested in playing well and losing. I want to be winning these matches.

"My goal's not to get in the top 100. I would want to get back in the top 10, that would be more something that would motivate me in terms of a goal."

Fans were overjoyed by the news that Clijsters and Murray had been handed wildcards for Indian Wells, one of the biggest events on the tennis calendar outside the four grand slams.

Earlier this week, British phenom Emma Raducanu was also granted a wildcard to play Indian Wells.

However big guns Novak Djokovic, Ash Barty, Naomi Osaka and Serena Williams will all be missing.

with AAP

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