‘Amazing how quickly people forget’: Andy Murray responds to Madrid Open wildcard dig

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Andy Murray is set to return at the Madrid Open later this month   (Getty Images)
Andy Murray is set to return at the Madrid Open later this month (Getty Images)

Andy Murray has hit back at suggestions that he should not have been offered a wildcard to the Madrid Open main draw following complaints from Spanish players, including the former world No. 7 Fernando Verdasco.

Murray performed a surprise U-turn on his decision to skip the entire clay-court season after accepting a wildcard to enter the tournament in the Spanish capital, which begins next week.

The three-time grand slam champion was one of nine players across both men’s and women’s tournaments to receive a wildcard into the main draw but Verdasco highlighted on Twitter that only one of those players was Spanish.

“We find it surprising, as well as very frustrating, that the biggest event of tennis in Spain shows such little support for Spanish tennis players with the invitations granted, especially to the main draw,” Verdasco said.

Verdasco added in his statement that “commercial interests have prevailed over those of Spanish sport.”

In response to a comment from a fan on Twitter suggesting that Murray, the world No. 84, was taking the wildcard spot from a home player by entering the main draw, the Briton replied: “More than happy to play qualifying. Will most likely play qualies in Rome. If a tournament invites me to come and play in the main draw are you suggesting I should turn it down and play quailes?”

Murray had earlier tweeted: “Amazing how quickly people forget in tennis.”

The 34-year-old last played at the Miami Open last month after reuniting with former coach Ivan Lendl. He had planned to skip the clay-court season in order to prepare physically for the grass-court swing. He is yet to decide whether he will play in the French Open, the second major of the year, which begins next month.

As well as Murray, British player Jack Draper and France’s Lucas Pouille have received wildcard spots into the men’s main draw. The 20-year-old Carlos Gimeno, who is ranked outside of the top 300 in the world, is the only Spanish player to have received a wildcard.

Japan’s Naomi Osaka, Puerto Rico’s Monica Puig, the Czech Republic’s Linda Fruhvirtova, Ukraine’s Marta Kostyuk and China’s Qinwen Zheng took the five wildcards into the women’s main draw.

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