Murray, Blake added to Barcelona as Davydenko, Kuerten pull
Apr 25, 2008, 16:34 GMT
Monte Carlo - Andy Murray and James Blake secured late places in the Barcelona Open starting on Monday as both struggle to recover from serious clay losses in the French Open run-up.
Officials announced on Friday that British number one Murray, bundled out 6-0, 6-4 in the Monte Carlo third round, would enter the field along with Blake.
The eighth-ranked American lost a sure-thing final last weekend in Houston against Marcel Granollers-Pujol with a third-set collapse. Blake is due to also compete in a pro-am golf event this weekend in Florida.
Blake has never played an ATP event on Spanish clay. He will surely be part of the US team which will travel to Spain September for a Davis Cup semi-final on clay.
Murray, who trained as a junior in the Catalan capital, won a round at the event two years ago before losing to David Ferrer. The pair replace Russian number four Nikolay Davydenko, who withdrew for personal reasons, and beloved Brazilian Gustavo Kuerten.
The three-time French Open winner had been due for a goodbye appearance as a wild card with his retirement looming at age 31 at the French Open after two hip surgeries.
But Kuerten, beaten in this week's Monte Carlo first round, injured himself and will need to rest.
His final appearance on court will come at Roland Garros which begins May 25.
Organisers also gave a wild card to 2004 Paris winner Guillermo Coria, now ranked 105 and struggling with his game.
Rafael Nadal, a three-time champion, heads the field.