Lleyton Hewitt awarded wild card

MELBOURNE, Australia -- Australian star Lleyton Hewitt has received a wild-card spot in the Australian Open next month.

The two-time Grand Slam winner, once the top-ranked player in the world, is 188th after several injury-plagued seasons, but tournament director Craig Tiley said Thursday giving the 2005 runner-up a spot was the easiest decision he has had to make.

Tiley said "Lleyton has had some bad luck with injury recently, which has seen his ranking drop, but he has proved time and time again he can never be discounted, particularly in a big match."