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“To be back at his level after surgery is amazing”: Forget defends Murray wildcard

Former world No 1 Andy Murray was the only non-French wildcard awarded for next week’s final event

Andy Murray Indian Wells backhand AI / Reuters / Panoramic

The decision to give Andy Murray a wildcard into next week’s Rolex Paris Masters should not even be a matter for debate, tournament director Guy Forget said on Saturday.

The 34-year-old Murray received a wildcard into the event on the back of a series of encouraging performances as he continues his comeback after he had a metal hip inserted at the start of 2019. Questioned whether the wildcard would have been better given to a young French player, Forget said Murray deserved it.

“Murray was supposed to have a wildcard at Roland Garros,” Forget said. “He turned it down because he didn’t feel physically ready, which is a credit to him. Since then, he has progressed. He beat a top 10 player in Vienna, Hubert Hurkacz. To be back at this level after his surgery is amazing, it’s a wonderful example of courage.”

Murray will be ranked 144 on Monday, a far cry from 2016, when he won the Paris title on the way to becoming world No 1 for the first time. The Scot has played some high-quality tennis in recent weeks, including wins over Carlos Alcaraz and Frances Tiafoe. Forget said his history was also a factor.

“Murray is a player who has won here,” Forget said. “He’s won Grand Slam titles, the Olympics (twice) Davis Cup. One year, I asked if he could spend time with our partners. He said yes, took pictures, had a kind word… I hope he will win some matches.”

“I think a lot of people will come to see Andy Murray, a lot of French people, maybe as early as Monday.”

Murray will play either a qualifier or lucky loser in his first-round match.

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