If one person has a special bond with the Mutua Madrid Open, it is Fernando Verdasco. Not only because he is a Madrid native, but also because he is one of the three players with the most appearances at this ATP Masters 1000 throughout their career (17), as many as Rafa Nadal and Feliciano López. In 2021 he will be adding another, thanks to the wildcard granted to him by the tournament organisers.
“I’d like to thank the Mutua Madrid Open for this invitation, which has given me an important opportunity that’s special to me”, said Verdasco. “Even more so after such a difficult year in my career in terms of tennis, having had an operation on my knee. I hope to be able to repay the confidence that has been placed in me by giving my all on court”.
The ex-world No. 7 has played in every Mutua Madrid Open since 2003. Apart from its first edition, he has played in the tournament every season, making his debut against Nicolás Massú, when it was still played on indoor hard court. His best results, though, have come on the clay of the Caja Mágica, where he reached the quarter-finals in 2009 and 2012.
Verdasco will be bidding to claim his 20th win on the Madrid clay this year. So far, his record is 19-17. Of all his matches, the two wins over Top-10 players stand out. In the second round in 2015, he beat then No. 10 player Marin Cilic, while in the last sixteen in 2012 -on the blue clay- he claimed the first win in his head-to-head with Nadal (No. 2).
“It’s an honour that my record for appearances in the tournament will be beaten this year by two great players and friends in Fer and Rafa”, recognised Feliciano López, director of the Mutua Madrid Open. “In the case of Verdasco, the figure is thanks to an extraordinarily long and consistent career. It will be an honour and a pleasure to see him play again at home, where he has provided us with some great matches. Whenever he plays in the Caja Mágica, he gives his all”.
In 2018, the Manolo Santana Stadium also witnessed an important milestone in his professional career; his win over Paolo Lorenzi in the first round was his 500th on tour. The mark had only previously been reached by five other Spanish players on the ATP Tour (Manuel Orantes, Carlos Moyà, Rafa Nadal, David Ferrer and Tommy Robredo).
Verdasco now joins 17-year-old Carlos Alcaraz as a wildcard for the 2021 Mutua Madrid Open, which takes place from 27 April to 9 May. There are still two remaining invitations for the men’s main draw, which will be announced soon.