Former world number ones Andy Murray and Victoria Azarenka will play in next month’s Cincinnati Open after being handed wild cards for the event.
Murray is taking baby steps back into the sport after missing almost a year of action due to a hip problem that required surgery at the start of the year.
He returned to action in the build-up to Wimbledon, playing at Queen’s and Eastbourne, before announcing that he would not play at SW19 as his body was not ready for the rigours of five-set tennis.
The 31-year-old is hoping to compete at next month’s US Open and will feature in some US hard-court events in the run-up to Flushing Meadows.
A two-time winner in Cincinnati, the Scot has been given a wild card and tournament director Andre Silva is excited he and Azarenka will be involved in Ohio. “The resumes for Vika and Andy really speak for themselves,” he said.
“I think many tennis fans are eager to see each of them back on the court, and we are pleased to offer them both wild cards to play the Western & Southern Open.”
Azarenka has missed many events over the past few years after having a baby and then becoming involved in a subsequent custody battle over her child.
The Belarusian did play at Wimbledon but was knocked out in the second round by Karolina Pliskova and will now hope for a decent run stateside before attempting to win her first US Open title.
She is priced at 23.00 to triumph in New York, while Murray is on offer at 11.00 to win a second title in the Big Apple.