The announcement this Wednesday of the invitations for the men’s and women’s final draws and for the men’s and women’s preliminary rounds of the Mutua Madrid Open has confirmed the presence of two great tennis figures such as Andy Murray (double champion of the tournament) and Naomi Osaka… but also a scarce presence of Spanish tennis players in these places of access to the tournament tables, something that has not gone down very well among national tennis players.
The most critical of them has been Fernando Verdasco. The man from Madrid, who is trying to recover his best tennis after a few difficult years due to injuries and who will not be able to play the final table of the tournament as he did not receive an invitation (by ranking he did not have direct access either as he was 121 in the world), published a A harsh statement that was also echoed by other players affected by this decision, such as Pablo Andújar, Carlos Taberner, Nurria Párrizas or Aliona Bolsova, and in which they regretted that the invitations to the tournament had not been allocated to Spanish tennis players. “Faced with the announcement today by the Mutua Madrid Open regarding the invitations they are going to offer for this year’s tournament, many Spanish players cannot help but give our opinion. 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 invitations grantedespecially to the main pictures”.
Verdasco criticizes the criteria with which these invitations have been granted, regrets that commercial interests take precedence over sports interests and stressed that in the Masters 1,000 in Rome the first invitations did go to Italian tennis players. “We do not understand that the promoting company and the owners of the tournament have found the criteria to give these invitations reasonable. We understand that some of them give them at their own discretion, but not that in all of them their commercial interests prevail over Spanish sport and totally deviate from the path followed in previous years. We have many tennis players who have been at the gates of being able to participate, and have been ignored in their requests to receive an invitation. If we look at any other tournament in the same category, the support shown to local tennis players is immensely higher. Without going further, The tournament in Rome, which takes place the week after the one in Madrid, has already announced its first five invitations and all of them are for Italian tennis players”.
Verdasco extends the disappointment of the Spanish tennis players to other collaborating institutions of the tournament, since according to him they would also expect more presence of Spanish tennis players in the tournament. “We fully trust that the main sponsors of the tournament, including the Madrid City Council, Mutua Madrileña and Spanish companies (as well as the Spanish federations and mostly national spectators) want to support Spanish tennis. and they invest in this tournament with the intention of helping our sport and hoping to see the greatest possible Spanish presence, so we imagine that they share our disappointment and we hope that they will express it as well. We felt that it was very important to communicate how sad we are not being able to play in our country and to make known the situation that has deprived us of that opportunity. Many thanks to all of you who have asked us and shown your support since the moment you saw this news.”
IMPORTANT NOTE ⬇️🇪🇸 pic.twitter.com/t5iJwnmvrE
— Fernando Verdasco (@FerVerdasco) April 20, 2022
The tennis player from Madrid also published the guest lists for the tournament on his social networks. “Many of you are asking me who are the wildcards at Mutua de Madrid, here they are”, in a message that included the names of the tennis players who have received an invitation to play the men’s and women’s final table and the men’s and women’s preliminary, in which only the name of Carlos Gimeno appears for the men’s final table but no Spanish player among those invited to the women’s final table and only one Spanish (Jessica Bouzas) among the tennis players invited to the previous one. Alejandro Moro, Dani Rincón and Dani Mérida are the other three Spanish tennis players who have received an invitation to play the men’s qualifier.
Many of you are asking me who are the wildcards in the Mutual de Madrid… here they are! pic.twitter.com/p3uGr3CMqH
— Fernando Verdasco (@FerVerdasco) April 20, 2022
IMG, behind the invitations
The main reason why these invitations have been given to tennis players who are not Spanish is due to the entry of the representation agency IMG as one of the owners of the tournament. In this way, most of the invitations have been destined to tennis players represented by them to try to promote the players they have in their portfolio.many of them young promises of tennis.
A policy that It has also been seen in other tournaments where IMG owns, such as the Miami Masters 1,000, where tennis players such as Rafa Nadal, Paula Badosa and Carlos Alcaraz They debuted with an invitation after having the support of said agency.
Badosa supports Verdasco’s words: “Very sad to see things like this”
Verdasco’s criticism reached the ears of the number 3 in the world, the Spanish Paula Badosawho showed his support for Verdasco before this claim. “Very sad to see things like this for Spanish tennis. When on top of that there is a lot of potential. A year ago I entered the tournament by invitation and I did one of the best tournaments of my career. A tournament that I will never forget thanks to an invitation. It is a huge opportunity for alland it’s a shame in the only tournament we have at a level like this, this happens… We have to give our tennis players opportunities to continue growing.
Very sad to see things like this for Spanish tennis. 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.
– Paula Badosa (@paulabadosa) April 20, 2022
A response that Verdasco himself celebrated in his social networks, thanking Badosa for his involvement. “Thank you Paula Badosa!! We appreciate the support of someone who, although she is not harmed (which is not usually seen much in this selfish sport) still looks out for the good of Spanish tennis!!”