Andy Murray took third seed Stefanos Tsitsipas to five sets at the US Open in August

Andy Murray says he does not feel bad about accepting wildcards as he returns to Indian Wells for the first time since he was world number one.

The 34-year-old will headline Friday’s night session in the Californian desert alongside new US Open champion Emma Raducanu.

Murray will play Adrian Mannarino of France in his first appearance at Indian Wells since 2017.

“I’m grateful that they have given me the opportunity to play here,” he said.

“But do I feel bad about it? No, I don’t feel bad about it.”

The three-time Grand Slam champion is currently outside the world’s top 100 and has therefore frequently needed wildcards to access tournaments this season.

“I’d rather get in by right, obviously,” Murray added.

“But then I could also argue that the three years I was out injured, I would have rightfully been entered in all of these tournaments.

“I think after what I have gone through the last three or four years, and what I had achieved in the game beforehand, I don’t feel like I need to justify the reasons for why I should get wildcards.”

Murray, who is yet to beat a top-20 player this season, has lost recently to Stefanos Tsitsipas, Casper Ruud, and the Wimbledon semi-finalist Hubert Hurkacz.

“I have also had a number of opportunities in those matches and not quite taken them,” said Murray, whose fitness has improved markedly since Wimbledon.

“They are going to snuff out some opportunities that you create, but also there’s been some stuff in those matches that I certainly feel I could have done better.

“I really don’t feel like I’ve been outclassed, or that I have had no chances against them, so there are some positives to take from those losses.”

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