Ex-champs Murray, Clijsters gain U.S. Open wild-card spots

8/6/2020 2:07:44 PM EST

Former U.S. Open champions Andy Murray and Kim Clijsters are among 16 players to receive wild-card entries into the 2020 tournament, scheduled to begin Aug. 31.

Murray, the 2012 champion, is returning from injury, while three-time winner Clijsters is in the midst of a comeback from retirement.

A three-time Gland Slam winner and a two-time Olympic gold medalist, Murray last played in a Grand Slam event in the 2019 Australian Open. The 33-year-old Brit has struggled with hip and pelvic injuries since then and underwent hip surgery. He is ranked No. 129 in the world -- one place out of earning a direct entry into the event.

Clijsters, 37, won the U.S. Open in 2005, 2009 and 2010 -- three of her four Grand Slam titles. The former world No. 1 last played in the New York tournament in 2012, eliminated in the second round. She retired the same year and devoted herself to raising her three children, but the Belgian announced last September that she wanted to be both a mom and a tennis player.

"For the past seven years, I've been a full-time mom," she said in a video posted to Twitter last September. "And I love it. I really, really do. But I also loved being a professional tennis player. And honestly, I miss that feeling. So... what if I tried to do both?"

Murray is one of just three men -- Novak Djokovic and Marin Cilic are the others -- in the field to have won a Grand Slam singles title. Rafael Nadal opted out over concerns of traveling during the coronavirus pandemic, while Roger Federer is out with an injury. This is the first time since 1999 that neither Nadal nor Federer have played in the U.S. Open.

The other U.S. Open men's wild cards are Brandon Nakashima, Ulises Blanch, Maxime Cressy, Sebastian Korda, Thai-Son Kwiatkowski, Michael Mmoh and JJ Wolf. All Americans, the oldest among them is the 23-year-old Cressy.

The other wild cards in the women's tournament are Usue Arconada, CiCi Bellis, Francesca Di Lorenzo, Caroline Dolehide, Ann Li, Robin Montgomery and Whitney Osuigwe. The 15-year-old Montgomery is the No. 1-ranked junior in the United States.

The tournament is scheduled to run through Sept. 13. No fans will be allowed in the stands at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center because of the pandemic.

--Field Level Media

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