Andy Murray is expected make a dramatic Grand Slam singles comeback at the 2020 Australian Open, according to tournament director Craig Tiley.
The former world number one underwent career-saving hip surgery earlier this year and continued his good progress by reaching the China Open quarter-finals last week.
At the 2019 Australian Open, Murray, 32, tearfully announced he may have to retire due to the pain he felt every time he played.
But after he had a procedure to resurface his hip joint in January, the two-time Wimbledon champion could be involved in the first Grand Slam of the new year.
“For sure Andy will be here,” Tiley told Australian radio station Triple M on Tuesday. “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.”
It would represent a dramatic turnaround for the Scot, who admitted it was likely he would never grace the biggest stage ever again.
At that tearful press conference last January, he said: “You guys see me running around a tennis court and walking between points and it doesn’t look good and it doesn’t look comfortable.
“There are also little things day to day which are a struggle and it would be nice to do without pain, putting shoes on, putting socks on, things like that.”
And tennis commentator Gigi Salmon believes Murray’s potential return to the highest level is nothing short of remarkable.
“At that point, a lot of us thought that was the end of Andy Murray,” she told talkSPORT.
“We’re still not sure where he can get to, the fact that he is here at this stage, playing this type of tennis is remarkable.
“He didn’t know if he would recover from this hip surgery, he didn’t know his movement would be.
“It’s incredible what Andy Murray is doing and the fact that he’s still playing here at this level.”