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Fernando Verdasco Blasts Mutua Madrid Open Wild Cards

Fernando Verdasco of Spain waves to the crowd after winning his men’s singles first round match against Evgeny Donskoy of Russia at the Australian Open0. EPA-EFE/LYNN BO BO

Spanish players aren’t getting many Mutua Madrid Open main-draw wild cards and Fernando Verdasco is fuming.

The 121st-ranked Verdasco, whose ranking has slipped in recent years as he’s battled knee injuries, took to Twitter to call the tournament out.

Madrid awarded one main-draw wild card to a Spanish player, Carlos Gimeno, while allocating main-draw wild cards to former No. 1 Andy Murray, Jack Draper and Frenchman Lucas Pouille.

On the women’s side, former world No. 1 Naomi Osaka, 2016 Olympic gold-medal champion Monica Puig, Ukrainian Marta Kostyuk, China’s Qinwen Zhang and Czech Linda Fruhvirtova were granted wild cards.

Verdasco said it’s frustrating to see Spain’s biggest tournament shut Spanish players out of wild cards.

“Given the announcement today of the Mutua Madrid Open regarding the invitations they will offer for this year’s tournament, many Spanish players cannot help but give our opinion,” Verdasco posted on Twitter. “We find it surprising, as well as very frustrating, that the biggest tennis event in Spain shows such little (or no) support for Spanish tennis players with the invitations granted, especially to the main draws.”

IMG, which also owns the Miami Open, recently completed its purchase of the Mutua Madrid Open. The tournament is rewarding IMG clients, rather than Spanish players, with wild cards.

World No. 3 Paula Badosa supported Verdasco in a reply to his tweet.

“Very sad to see things like this for Spanish tennis,” Badosa posted. “When there is a lot of potential…

“A year ago I entered the tournament for a WC and I did one of the best tournaments of my career. A tournament that I will never forget thanks to a WC…”

“It’s a huge opportunity for everyone, and it’s a shame that the only tournament we have at a level like this, this happens… We have to give our tennis players opportunities to continue growing… 🙏💔”