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Andy Murray’s haul of wild cards continues with Indian Wells entry, Rafa Nadal bidding for fourth title @BNP Paribas Open

Andy Murray has accepted a wild card into next week’s BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells. EPA-EFE/DAN HIMBRECHTS AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND OUT

By Ricky Dimon

Andy Murray’s recent haul of wild cards has continued with entry into the upcoming BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells. The tournament announced Murray’s wild card on Tuesday along with one for Sofia Kenin on the women’s side.

That Murray–a three-time Grand Slam champion and former world No. 1–received a wild card is no surprise. What is surprising is that the 34-year-old Scot is still searching for his first title at this Masters 1000 event. He reached the final in 2009 but lost to Rafael Nadal.

Because of hip problems dating back to 2017, Murray has been outside the top 100 for several years and has required wild cards at almost every event he has played in order to avoid qualifying. That includes Indian Wells last fall and a whole host of Grand Slams–most recently this year’s Australian Open.

“I’m grateful that they have given me the opportunity to play here,” Murray said at the 2021 Indian Wells tournament. “But do I feel bad about it? No, I don’t feel bad about it. After what I’ve gone through the last three (or) four years and what I’ve achieved for the game beforehand, I don’t feel like I need to justify the reasons for why I should get wild cards.

“I’d rather get in by right, obviously, but then I could also argue that for three years I was out injured I would have rightfully been entered into all of these tournaments.”

Rafael Nadal returns to Indian Wells. EPA-EFE/JASON O’BRIEN

Nadal, of course, has had no such issues despite enduring his own fair share of injuries. The 35-year-old Spaniard is healthy and on top of the sport at the moment, even if the rankings don’t say as much (currently fourth). Nadal, who is 15-0 this season with titles at the 250 (Melbourne), 500 (Acapulco), and Grand Slam (Australian Open) levels, confirmed his participation in the first Masters 1000 tournament of 2022 by posting a video from Indian Wells on Tuesday.

Nadal is 54-10 lifetime in the desert and has lifted the trophy in 2007, 2009, and 2013. He lost to Novak Djokovic in the 2011 final.

Djokovic would be the No. 2 seed in Indian Wells if he plays, having slipped behind Daniil Medvedev in the rankings. The 34-year-old Serb is unlikely to be on the finalized entry list, however, as a result of being unvaccinated.

Ricky contributes to10sballs.com and also maintains his own tennis website, The Grandstand. You can follow him on twitter at @Dimonator.