A couple of days ago, I responded to a comment about the USTA's French Open wild card points accrual with the statement that in 2012, the qualifying points were counted in determining the winner.
This is incorrect. Qualifying points earned do not count in the standings now, nor did they last year, when Brian Baker and Melanie Oudin won the French Open wild cards with their performances in the designated tournaments, now known as the Har-Tru USTA Pro Circuit Wild Card Challenge.
The fact sheets for the 2013 Har-Tru Challenge, which can be found on the Pro Circuit home page at usta.com, state "The wild card will be awarded to the American player with the highest total of cumulative singles main draw ATP (or WTA) ranking points..."(emphasis mine), and I'm told that was the same as last year, and Baker's point total from last year bears that out.
Why qualifying points wouldn't count, although a minor issue, is a question that has been raised by a few readers, and Lew Brewer, who is the USTA point person on this, provided me with this answer.
"Our opinion is that we think that's the most fair," Brewer told me in a telephone conversation. "I understand why people would argue why you would want to include the qualifying points--because it's hard to qualify, they've played matches already. The other side of that is that they get extra points if they qualify. They've been around the site for a few days, so they've acclimated, especially if someone is coming from another tournament, and they've had that opportunity to get used to the courts, the facility, the water, all that stuff. I think a lot of times that's why you see some upsets in the the first round, because qualifying players have had a chance to get used to the whole atmosphere. We feel it is just more fair for everyone just to count the main draw points."
I personally would like to see the qualifying points count, while recognizing that it's probably never going to matter and is a small part of an otherwise great system for awarding a wild card. My feeling, which I relayed to Brewer, is that the minuscule points on offer for qualifying, where you must win 2 or 3 matches, make this an "advantage" that is very expensive in terms of physical exertion. And if the ATP (or WTA) is awarding points for a result, they have determined it has value, so I don't think it's necessary to exclude it from this competition. But my thoughts are just that, and the fact sheet provided the notice necessary to the participants, so the discussion is now just expressing opinions now that I've gotten the facts straight myself.