With the French Open just around the corner, the wild cards for the main draw will be announced shortly.
Here we look at who should get them and why.
Who should receive French Open wild cards?
We would have started with the former World #1 and three-time Grand Slam winner. The Brit has been struggling with match fitness. Murray is still on the comeback trail. After hip resurfacing, that left the Brit pain free, Murray has been hit by numerous setbacks. Firstly, a groin injury that put paid to playing in events he wanted. The Brit then caught Coronavirus, and had to self isolate and recover from that.
The former World #1 doesn’t have a bad record in Paris. Out of 11 appearances, the Brit has made the quarterfinal or better seven times. Making the final in 2016 was the pinnacle. Since the hip surgery, however, Murray has not had many matches. The Brit did lift a singles trophy in 2019 in Antwerp.
Unfortunately, Murray has now withdrawn from the qualifying in Paris so is no longer in contention, but the Brit would have been a great shout for a main draw wildcard.
Carlos Alcaraz Garfia
The young Spaniard has been impressive in the lead-up to Roland Garros. In the Andalucia Open, the youngster reached the semifinal. Alcaraz knocked out much higher ranked players including Feliciano Lopez in the second round.
Although knocked out in the first round in Barcelona, the young Spaniard fought well against Frances Tiafoe. Alcaraz took a set off Marin Čilić after qualifying for the main draw. In Madrid after winning the first round, the young Spaniard faced his idol Rafael Nadal. The King of Clay dominated the match, but Alcaraz who turned 18 the same day enjoyed the match.
Clay seems to suit Spaniards, so providing a wild card to a young up and coming star should be a no brainer. New talent on the red clay will be a delight to watch.
Another youngster to consider. The Swiss player won the Junior French Open in 2020, so as a previous champion Stricker should be added to the list. He has a tough opener next week in Geneva against Čilić. It will be interesting to see how Stricker competes against the Croatian.
Stricker is no stranger to titles this year, claiming doubles with Leandro Riedi in a recent ITF level event in Spain. Encouraging up and coming youngsters by giving them a wild card into the main draw is a fantastic way to bring “newer” names to the fore at big events.
Juan Manuel Cerúndolo
In fact either Juan Manuel or his brother Francisco are good contenders for wild cards. Juan Manuel is the younger sibling and had a roaring start to the 2020 season. After qualifying for his first ATP main draw in the Córdoba Open, the Argentine battled through the draw, taking out seed after seed. The young Argentine not only made his maiden ATP main draw, but claimed the title too.
With Murray obviously now out of the running, we need to put forward another Brit. Keeping with youngsters, Draper falls into this category. The young Brit is currently competing in Prague on the ITF circuit. Having only played one clay match in the 2020 season, it’s not particularly his favorite surface. Based on last year results indoor hard is the young Brits best.
However, the event in Prague is on clay. At the time of writing Draper is unbeaten in the event, and has made the final. The Brit dropped one set in the semifinal which was a hard fought tie break, the rest of the matches were straight set victories.
Although Brits are not usually known for clay prowess, giving Draper a main draw wild card will be an excellent opportunity to see what the youngster can do over the longer format. Draper was runner up at junior Wimbledon in 2018. The Brit has matured since then and is an exciting future prospect for British Tennis.
Main Photo from Getty.