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Madrid Open Paula Badosa Fernando Verdasco

‘Very frustrating and sad’ – Spanish pros oppose Madrid Open wildcard selections

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Former world number seven Fernando Verdasco and WTA world number three Paula Badosa are among those saddened by the wildcard selections announced for the 2022 Madrid Open. 

The invitations, announced yesterday, include just one Spaniard for main draw competition and only five of 19 across main draws and qualifying.

Meanwhile, a number of wildcards went to players managed by IMG, the management group that acquired the Madrid Open late last year.

As such, Spanish pros like 2009 Australian Open semi-finalist Verdasco, ATP top 100 pro Carlos Taberner and veteran Pablo Andujar have tweeted out a statement opposing the selections.

 

 

The statement reads: “We find it surprising, as well as very frustrating, that the biggest tennis event in Spain shows so little (or no) support for Spanish tennis players with the [wildcards] granted, especially to the main draws.

“We find the criteria used by the promoting company and the tournament owners to give these wildcards to be unreasonable.

The statement adds that while players understand some wildcards are discretionary, they cannot agree that all of the wildcards should be decided by commercial interests over Spanish sporting interest, a complete deviation from the policy of previous years.

 

One of those who recently benefitted from such a wildcard policy is 2021 Indian Wells champion Badosa, who voiced her support for the movement.

She replied to Verdasco and others, tweeting: “Very sad to see things like this for Spanish tennis when there is a lot of potential.

“A year ago I entered the tournament with a wildcard.

“I had one of the best tournaments of my career, a tournament that I will never forget thanks to a wildcard.”

Before the 2021 Madrid Open, Badosa was ranked 62nd in the world and entered the main draw with a wildcard.

She went on to surprise the field, downing top 50 pros Barbora Krejcikova and Jil Teichmann before ousting world number 11 Belinda Bencic to reach the semi-finals.

She eventually lost to world number one and eventual champion Ashleigh Barty there.

The run was obviously memorable for Badosa and helped her push on up the rankings, culminating in a WTA 1000 title at Indian Wells and a now career-high ranking of world humber three at time of publication.

She added: “It’s a huge opportunity for everyone, and it’s a shame that the only tournament [Spain] has at a level like this, this happens.

“We have to give our tennis players opportunities to continue growing.”

 

 

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Madrid Open Paula Badosa Fernando Verdasco
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