Andy Murray knocks on French Open's tradition-locked door for doubles main draw entry

Tuesday, 21 May 2024 at 23:30
Andy Murray is reported to have requested an exception from the French Open organization to a longstanding tradition in order to play doubles. The three-time Grand Slam champion hopes to receive a wild card entry to compete in the doubles main draw alongside Dan Evans, seeking rhythm ahead of the Paris 2024 Olympics.
The double Olympic gold medalist in singles (2012, 2016) will be participating in the Olympic Games. Although he currently ranks 91st in the Race to the Olympics and has only the French Open left to earn points, it is almost certain that he will receive one of the two wild cards reserved for former Olympic champions or Grand Slam champions, which probably would go to him and Rafael Nadal.

Murray targets doubles draw

With the British star now recovered from injury, Murray is contemplating his final performances, having recently hinted that he may not continue competitive tennis beyond this summer. The Olympics could mark one of Murray's last events, considering it falls two weeks after Wimbledon.
One of his objectives is to compete in the doubles at Paris 2024. It's understood that the 37-year-old will partner with Joe Salisbury, while Evans will team up with Neal Skupski, both top-10 doubles players and former world No. 1s. However, at the French Open, Salisbury and Skupski will play together as an experienced pair, while their compatriots Evans and Murray aim to accumulate matches in doubles.
The combined ranking of Evans and Murray is 144, making them the 6th alternates for the draw. Murray has requested that the French Open organization grant them a wild card entry into the draw, which would mark a departure from a 20-year tradition at the second Grand Slam of the year, where typically the 7 invitation spots are allocated to French player pairings.
Andy Murray was defeated by Novak Djokovic in the 2016 French Open final 3–6, 6–1, 6–2, 6–4 
The last time a non-French partnership received a wildcard was in 2004 when Russians Igor Andreev and Nikolay Davydenko were also aiming to prepare for the Olympics (Athens 2004). In this instance, Murray and Evans hope their injury-plagued year will be taken into consideration, which hindered their ability to accumulate more points. Additionally, Murray's illustrious career as a former Grand Slam champion and 2016 French Open runner-up adds weight to their request.

Decision lies with French Tennis Federation

However, the final decision rests with the French Tennis Federation, which recently announced wild cards for the singles event, leaving out several former Grand Slam champions who were hopeful of an invitation. Notably, former world No. 3 and two-time finalist (2018-2019) Dominic Thiem is competing in the tournament's qualifying rounds after narrowly missing out on entry as an alternate.
Similar scenarios unfolded in the women's singles draw, with former world No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki, former US Open champion Emma Raducanu, and even 2018 Roland Garros champion Simona Halep missing out on wild card entries following her return from a doping ban.

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