Andy Murray’s draw in Madrid may be the toughest of his entire career

Andy Murray

Andy Murray made a late decision to play at the Madrid Open and he has been handed a daunting task as he prepares for his first match on clay in 2022.

Murray has initially stated he would skip the clay court season to focus on what may be a final push for glory on grass courts in Britain this summer, but he reserved that decision to take a wild card in Madrid.

Now the former world No 1 is eyeing up a challenging set of rivals in the Spanish capital, with the 2015 Madrid Open champion facing former US Open champion Dominic Thiem in the first round.

If the Scot comes through that game, he will face a battle against No 14 seed Denis Shapavalov in the second round.

Come through that battle and Murray might get a chance to renew his rivalry with World No 1 Novak Djokovic in the last 16.

It may be unlikely that he comes through that minefield of rivals, but Rafael Nadal could be waiting for him later in the event in a draw that highlights the challenges Murray is facing at this stage of his career.

The two-time Wimbledon champion may be guaranteed wild cards to enter these major events for as long as he wants to play at the highest level, but his unseeded status means he faces a huge challenge to get to the back end of events.

Murray has been practicing with Jack Draper in Madrid, with the rising start of the British game set to play Italy’s Lorenzo Sonego in the first round, with Serbia Open champion Andrey Rublev of Russia lying in wait for the winner.