Murray out of Australian Open; Grand Slam comeback on hold

Andy Murray
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Updated 30 December 2019

Murray out of Australian Open; Grand Slam comeback on hold

MELBOURNE: Andy Murray has put his Grand Slam comeback on hold after announcing he will not be playing at the Australian Open next month.
Tennis Australia issued a statement Sunday saying Murray had withdrawn from the season-opening major at Melbourne Park and from the ATP Cup, a new international men’s team event which starts next week and will be played in Sydney, Perth and Brisbane.
“I’ve worked so hard to get myself into a situation where I can play at the top level and I’m gutted I’m not going to be able to play in Australia in January,” Murray said in a statement.
“Unfortunately I’ve had a setback recently and as a precaution, need to work through that before I get back on court competing.”
Murray had surgery on his hip to repair a career-threatening injury after his first-round, five-set loss to Roberto Bautista Agut at the Australian Open in January.

I’ve worked so hard to get myself into a situation where I can play at the top level and I’m gutted I’m not going to be able to play in Australia in January.

Andy Murray

The 32-year-old Murray returned to the tour in August at Cincinnati, where he lost in the first round, and also played at seven other tournaments — including the Davis Cup in Spain last month — to finish the year with an 11-7 win-loss record.
“After the Australian Open this year, when I wasn’t sure whether I’d be able to play again, I was excited about coming back to Australia and giving my best, and that makes this even more disappointing for me,” Murray said of his latest injury setback.
Murray, a three-time major winner, has reached the Australian Open final five times but never won the title at Melbourne Park.


Runners step back in time on AlUla’s historic trails

Updated 19 February 2020

Runners step back in time on AlUla’s historic trails

  • Top-ranked athletes came from Saudi Arabia, the US and the Netherlands

ALULA: More than 260 athletes from around the world took part in the recent EcoTrail AlUla, a multi-track running race through the dramatic landscapes of AlUla in Saudi Arabia’s northwest.
Top-ranked athletes came from Saudi Arabia, the US and the Netherlands. The race was staged as part of the second season of the Winter at Tantora festival, organized by the Royal Commission for AlUla to promote the historic site as an exceptional tourist destination for heritage, arts, culture and sports.

Events took place on three different courses — an 83 km track, followed by a 45 km and a 10 km track — with international athletes taking part in each of the races.

In the 10 km course, 139 contestants took part in the competition, with 125 managing to complete the run. Saudi runner Mohammed Madkhali won first place, while Yemeni runner Fares Aman Aldin came in second and another Saudi runner, Meshari Almuhanna, finished third.

In the women’s category, US runner Meredith Byrne won first place, Saudi runner Sarah Abdullatif came in second, and British runner Maureen McConnell finished third.

Ninety athletes took part in the 45 km race, with 85 finishing. Saudi runner Abdulaziz Al-Ghamdi came in first, with Australian Matthew Sudich second and French runner Nicholas Mordelet in third.

In the women’s category, Dutch runner Floortje Rawee came in first, followed by Italian Alessandra Grassi in second and American Natasha Turak third.

The 83 km race featured 37 athletes with only 17 finishing. In the men’s category, US runner Michael Wardian finished first, followed by Pierre Breuer from Belgium in second and Malaysia’s Soonseng Ong third.

In the women’s category, Amy Sproston from the US ranked first, with Ruth Theresia from Indonesia second and American Rachel Bessette third.

EcoTrail AlUla attracted athletes from around the world, most notably the US, UK, Germany, Belgium, Switzerland, France, Sweden, the UAE, Malaysia, Singapore, Jordan, Oman, Peru, Poland and Indonesia.

The one-day trail gave visitors the opportunity to become acquainted with AlUla and its distinctive natural, cultural, architectural and historical monuments. The trail is an eye-catching destination for running enthusiasts and jogging clubs, and will encourage people to visit AlUla and Saudi Arabia to take part in a global sporting event that promotes environmentally friendly principles and initiatives.

The race contained several medical care stops and catering stations, and each participant received a number in addition to a welcome gift and a shirt. An inaugural dinner was held to welcome contestants on the night before the race.

EcoTrail AlUla is the first race to occur in the Middle East and one of the most notable sports events of this year’s Winter at Tantora festival. The race was sponsored by STC, Almarai Company, Sabeeka Energy Bar, Whites, and Hussak Adventures. The festival’s latest season also provides a wide range of diverse experiences that meet the needs of all visitors and entertain all tastes, for individuals, groups or families from all walks of life.

The festival began on Dec. 19 and will run until March 7, 2020. Guests of the second season of this year will be able to visit the astonishing historical and heritage sites exclusively, and attend the international musical and artistic performances.