Kim Clijsters, Andy Murray get wild cards for 2020 US Open

Former US Open champions and world No. 1 players Kim Clijsters and Andy Murray have received wild cards for the 2020 US Open, which is slated to begin from August 31.

Belgium’s Clijsters will be looking to repeat her magic from the 2009 US Open, when she famously won the singles title as a wild card after returning from an initial retirement, during which she became a mother. She would later become the first mother in WTA history to hold the world No. 1 ranking.

The three-time US Open champion (2005, 2009-10), who came out of a more than seven-year retirement earlier in 2020, will be playing the US Open for the first time since she stepped away from the game following the 2012 tournament. She is currently unranked.

Murray, ranked No. 129, narrowly missed the direct-entry cutoff, but is set to compete in his first US Open since 2018. The 33-year-old Briton won the first of his three Grand Slam titles at the 2012 US Open. The two New York tournaments will be Murray’s first competitive action of 2020 as he continues to work his way back from hip surgeries in 2018-19.

Murrray missed the US Open in 2017 and 2019 through injury, and seriously considered retiring from the game after the 2019 Australian Open. But his return—which began on the singles front in the 2019 US Open Series—peaked with a title at the European Open, an ATP 250 event in Antwerp, Belgium, in October. Since then, further injury woes have kept him sidelined.

The US Open, meanwhile, has slashed its prize money for the singles title winner for the 2020 edition of the tournament by $850,000. Both the men’s and women’s singles champion will earn $3 million, said the United States Tennis Association (USTA).

The USTA further said that the US Open will offer $53.4 million in total players’ compensation in 2020 with $7.6 million dedicated towards players’ relief from the COVID-19 pandemic.