US Open announces wild card recipients
FLUSHING, N.Y. — The USTA announced today that 2001 US Open champion Lleyton Hewitt of Australia and a group of Americans consisting of former US Open semifinalist Robby Ginepri, teenager Ryan Harrison, reigning NCAA champion Steve Johnson, Jack Sock, who won his second consecutive USTA Boys’ 18s title on Sunday, and current world No. 89 Donald Young, along with France’s Julien Benneteau, have been awarded men’s singles main draw wild card entries into the 2011 US Open Tennis Championships. The 2011 US Open will be played August 29 - September 11 at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing, N.Y.
One additional wild card will be given to the winner of the 2011 US Open Wild Card Playoff, an eight-player invitational event held by USTA Player Development at the Junior Tennis Champions Center, a USTA Certified Regional Training Center in College Park, Md., this week.
Both the men’s and women’s US Open singles champions will win $1.8 million in prize money with the ability to earn an additional $1 million in bonus prize money (for a total potential payout of $2.8 million) based on their performance in the 2011 Olympus US Open Series. The US Open Men’s Singles Championship is presented by Mercedes-Benz USA.
Ginepri, 28, of Kennesaw, Ga., has played in just six events since the 2010 US Open after undergoing arm surgery last September, and is currently ranked No. 305 after reaching the final of the USTA Pro Circuit $100,000 Challenger in Vancouver earlier this month. He achieved a career-high ranking of No. 15 in 2005 after reaching the semifinals of the US Open that year. Ginepri has won three career ATP World Tour singles titles and has been a member of the U.S. Davis Cup and Olympic tennis teams.
Hewitt, 30, of Adelaide, Australia, received his wild card through a reciprocal arrangement with Tennis Australia, which will grant a men’s singles main draw wild card into the 2012 Australian Open to a player designated by the USTA. He is a former world No. 1 and the winner of 28 career singles titles, including 2001 US Open and 2002 Wimbledon.
Harrison, 19, of Bradenton, Fla., is currently ranked No. 78 in the world and is the youngest American in the top 100. This summer he reached consecutive semifinals at the Olympus US Open Series events in Atlanta and Los Angeles, where he lost to the top-ranked American Mardy Fish both times. Harrison was given a wild card into qualifying at the US Open last year and won three matches to advance to the main draw, where he upset No. 15 seed Ivan Ljubicic in the first round and had match points in the second round before losing in a fifth set tiebreak.
Reigning NCAA champion Johnson, 21, of Orange, Calif., captured the title as a junior at USC and also helped lead the Trojans to their third consecutive NCAA team title. Johnson earned 2011 All-America honors and competed on the USTA Collegiate Team this summer, where he reached his first pro final (as an amateur) at the $15,000 USTA Pro Circuit Futures in Sacramento, Calif. Johnson was a practice partner for the U.S. Davis Cup team in July during the 2011 quarterfinal between the United States and Spain in Austin, Texas.
Sock, 18, of Lincoln, Neb., recently turned pro and successfully defended his title at the USTA Boys’ 18s National Championships on Sunday to earn a wild card into the US Open men’s singles draw for the second consecutive year, and become the first back-to-back USTA Boys’ 18s champion since Donald Young in 2005-06. Last year, Sock became the first American to win the US Open boys’ singles title since Andy Roddick in 2000.
Young, 22, of Atlanta, re-entered the top 100 this year after reaching the semifinals of the Olympus US Open Series event in Washington D.C. earlier this month and upsetting two top 30 players—his career-best result. This year, he also advanced to the third round of Indian Wells, where he defeated world No. 5 Andy Murray en route, and then captured his sixth career USTA Pro Circuit singles title. A two-time Grand Slam junior tournament champion, Young became the youngest-ever year-end world No. 1 junior in 2005. He first broke into the top 100 in 2007 when he reached the third round of the US Open.
Benneteau, 29, of Bourg en Bresse, France, received his wild card through a reciprocal arrangement with the French Tennis Federation, which granted a wild card into the 2011 French Open to a player designated by the USTA (Tim Smyczek, who won a USTA playoff). Benneteau is currently ranked No. 112 after having reached a career-high No. 32 in 2010.
In addition to the eight US Open men’s singles main draw wild cards, the USTA also announced eight men who have been awarded wild card entries into the US Open Qualifying Tournament, which will be held August 23-26 at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. One additional US Open qualifying wild card will be awarded to the winner of the 2011 US Open National Playoffs - Men’s Championship, taking place August 18-21 in New Haven, Conn.
Players receiving 2011 US Open qualifying wild cards are: 2011 USTA Boys’ 18s runner-up Mitchell Frank (18, Annandale, Va.); 2011 French Open boys’ singles champion Bjorn Fratangelo (18, Plum, Pa.); 2011 Easter Bowl champion Marcos Giron (18, Thousand Oaks, Calif.); Bradley Klahn (20, Poway, Calif.), the 2010 NCAA men’s singles champion and a rising senior at Stanford; Daniel Kosakowski (19, Huntington Park, Calif.), who recently turned professional after his freshman year at UCLA; Denis Kudla (18, Arlington, Va.), who recently reached the quarterfinals at the ATP World Tour event in Newport, R.I.; and two University of Tennessee standouts - Tennys Sandgren (20, Gallatin, Tenn.), who won back-to-back titles on the USTA Pro Circuit this summer; and 2011 NCAA men’s singles runner-up Rhyne Williams (20, Knoxville, Tenn.), who turned professional this summer.
The 2011 US Open will be held Monday, August 29 through Sunday, September 11. Tickets for the 2011 US Open can be purchased four ways: 1) at USOpen.org; 2) by calling Ticketmaster at 1-866-OPEN-TIX; 3) at all Ticketmaster outlets; or 4) at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center box office. American Express is the Official Card of the US Open.
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