Craig Tiley, the tournament director for the 2020 Australian Open, has said Andy Murray will play at the competition "for sure."
Murray has recently made an impressive return to action during the Asian leg of the ATP Tour following hip surgery.
The displays have given fans hope that Murray still has something to offer at the highest level following fears he may have to retire from the game. Speaking to radio station Triple M (h/t Tennis 365) on Tuesday, Tiley said he expects the three-time Grand Slam winner to compete for the first major championship of next season.
"For sure Andy will be here," he said. "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."
At the 2019 Australian Open, tennis fans thought they were seeing the end of Murray, as he was in noticeable pain during his five-set loss to Roberto Bautista Agut.
Before the match, he said he was planning to retire after Wimbledon in 2019, citing the issues he had been enduring with his hip. He noted in January that "I'm not sure I'm able to play through the pain for another four or five months. ... I've been in a lot of pain for about 20 months now."
Following his defeat to Bautista Agut, the Australian Open organisers even played a tribute video, with a number of high-profile stars wishing him well in his retirement:
However, Murray opted to get surgery and has been back on court since. At the recent China Open, he made it to the quarter-finals, falling to top seed and eventual tournament winner Dominic Thiem.
George Bellshaw of Metro said Murray should be encouraged by the manner in which he's performed:
George Bellshaw @BellshawGeorge
Andy Murray beaten 6-2 7-6 (3) by world No. 5 Dominic Thiem - who will meet Khachanov in Beijing semi-finals - but another encouraging performance in what’s been a hugely encouraging week. Still a long way to go but signs point to Murray getting back towards his best. Remarkable.
The former world No. 1 also showcased excellent durability to beat Juan Ignacio Londero on Monday at the Shanghai Masters, as well as some of his trademark shot-making skill:
Murray is a five-time runner-up at the Australian Open, and although winning a Grand Slam event appears beyond him at this point, he will be desperate to return to Melbourne, where he has made so many brilliant memories in the past.
With that in mind, progression in some competitions late in the year will only help his preparations for next season. Murray will be in action on Tuesday in Shanghai against the event's 10th seed, Fabio Fognini.