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Andy Murray and Alexander Zverev accept wildcards into Barcelona Open

Both Murray and Zverev made early exits at this week's Monte Carlo Masters.

MONTE-CARLO, MONACO - APRIL 20:  Andy murray of Great Britain in action during his third round match against Albert Ramos-Vinolas of Spain on day 5 of the Monte Carlo Rolex Masters Series at Monte-Carlo Sporting Club on April 20, 2017 in Monte-Carlo, Monaco.  (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
Andy Murray’s clay court season continues in Barcelona

What’s the story?

The Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell – one of the prestigious ATP 500 tournaments on the circuit – has now got an even more competitive field after the World No. 1 Andy Murray and the 20th ranked Alexander Zverev both accepted last-minute wildcards into the Catalan claycourt event scheduled from April 22-30. 

Both of them made pre-quarter-final exits from the ongoing Monte Carlo Masters at Monaco which officially kicked off the European clay season. Murray’s third round loss was especially shocking. The Briton, who was playing just his second match since recovering from a right elbow injury, led the 24th ranked Albert Ramos-Vinolas 4-0 in the decider only to see the 15th seed storming back for a 2-6, 6-2, 7-5 victory.

The German youngster Zverev, meanwhile, was walloped 1-6, 1-6 by the nine-time champion Rafael Nadal on his 20th birthday.

In case you didn’t know...

The Barcelona Open, founded in 1953, has been won a record nine times by Nadal. It is one of the three tournaments where the 14-time Grand Slam champion is targeting a ‘La Decima’ or a tenth title this year with the others being this week’s Monte Carlo Masters and the all-important French Open.

This will be Murray’s first appearance at this tournament since 2012 when he reached the quarter-finals.

The heart of the matter

The two join an already strong line-up at this Spanish event which will see the likes of Nadal, World No. 5 and two-time champion Kei Nishikori, World No. 9 Dominic Thiem and World No. 13 David Goffin, who upset Novak Djokovic at Monte Carlo, vying for the title among others. Also, Pablo Carreno Busta, who was close to toppling Djokovic this week, as well as the Andy Murray slayer, Albert Ramos-Vinolas, are there in the draw.

What’s next?

The main draw action at the Barcelona Open begins on April 24. 

Author’s Take

Murray established his claycourt credentials last year having won the Rome Masters apart from reaching the finals of the Madrid Masters and the French Open. This year, he could definitely be a serious contender for the claycourt Major.

And that is why taking a wildcard into the ATP Barcelona event is the right decision by the World No. 1 as match practice is essential for him at this stage after the injury. Murray and Zverev’s entry into the draw will also help escalate fans’ interest in this tournament.

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