‘I don’t feel like I need to justify the reasons for why I should get wildcards,’ says Andy Murray

Andy Murray looking ahead

Andy Murray has brushed off suggestions that he should “feel bad” about receiving wildcard entries into tournaments, saying “I don’t make the call”.

Having dropped outside the world top 100 following his long-standing hip injury, the former world No 1 has failed to gain automatic entry into several tournaments, including this week’s BNP Paribas Open, but has received a string of wildcards.

However, that has not always been something that has gone down well in the tennis world and Eurosport pundit Mats Wilander said after last year’s French Open that Murray should not be handed wildcards.

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Although Murray would love to gain direct entry due to his ranking, he insists he has no qualms about receiving invites from organisers.

“Obviously I’d rather get in by right. But I could also argue that the three years I was out injured, I would have rightfully been entered into all of these tournaments,” he said.

“I think, after what I’ve gone through the last three or four years and what I’d achieved in the game beforehand, I don’t feel like I need to justify the reasons for why I should get wildcards.

“The tournaments are obviously making those decisions, I don’t make the call. I’m very grateful they’ve given me the opportunity to play here again and to play in the other tournaments this year but do I feel bad about it? No, I don’t feel bad about it.”

An animated Andy Murray

Murray will play at the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells for the first time since 2017, but he has been handed a tricky draw as he could face 30th seed Carlos Alcaraz in the second round and world No 4 Alexander Zverev in the third round.

The Scot, though, is pleased about his recent performances.

“The matches that I’ve lost, barring Winston-Salem, are (to players) in the top 15 in the world – (Stefanos) Tsitsipas, (Hubert) Hurkacz, Casper Ruud,” he said.

“They’re top players and have been this season certainly. I have also had a number of opportunities in those matches and not quite taken them.

“Partly that’s down to playing against top players, they’re going to snuff out some opportunities you create, but also there’s been some stuff in those matches that I certainly feel I could have done better.

“The positive I guess is that I’ve not been losing to guys I should definitely have been winning against at this stage.”

He added: “I did have some good wins and stuff here, it’s not like I played badly every year, but overall I’ve been pretty inconsistent here and struggled with that but the balls are getting much heavier, which I really like. I’m finding it a lot easier to control the ball in comparison to other years.”