US Open Men's Wild Cards Awarded To James Blake, Former Top 10 Player Mark Philippoussis, Jan-Michael Gambill and a Talented Group Of Young Americans
8/18/05 9:22 PM
WHITE PLAINS, N.Y., August 18, 2005 – The USTA today announced that James Blake (Tampa, Fla.), 1998 US Open runner-up Mark Philippoussis (Australia), former Top 20 player Jan-Michael Gambill (Colbert, Wash.) and a talented group of young Americans including Brian Baker (Nashville, Tenn.), Scoville Jenkins (Atlanta), , Rajeev Ram (Carmel, Ind.), Bobby Reynolds (Acworth, Ga.) and Donald Young (Fairburn, Ga.) have been awarded men’s singles main draw wild card entries into the 2005 US Open Tennis Championships, which will be played August 29 - September 11 at the USTA National Tennis Center in Flushing, N.Y.
Baker, 20, is currently No. 197 in the ATP Entry Ranking having been sidelined twice this year with injury. In the past three weeks, he reached the semifinal of USTA Challengers in Lexington, Ky., and Binghamton, N.Y. and the second round of the US Open Series event in Washington, DC. In April, following a three-month break with a left wrist injury, he reached the final of the USTA Challenger in Tunica Resorts, Miss.
Blake, 25, is currently No. 70 in the ATP Entry Ranking, but was ranked No. 107 and missed direct acceptance at the time of the US Open entry deadline. He reached the final of the US Open Series event in Washington, D.C. two weeks ago. Last year, he finished in the Top 100 for the fourth consecutive season despite a series of injuries and illness. Blake sparked his comeback in May during the clay court season, winning consecutive USTA Challengers in Tunica Resorts, Miss., and Forest Hills, N.Y. before advancing through qualifying to reach the second round of the French Open.
Gambill, 28, is currently ranked No. 142 after finishing in the Top 100 for the seventh consecutive season last year. The winner of three ATP titles has been ranked as high as No. 14 in world. Gambill reached the quarterfinals of the ATP event in Memphis in February and the semifinals of the Granby Challenger in Canada two weeks ago. He was a member of the U.S. Davis Cup team in 1998, 2000 and 2001.
Jenkins, 18, is currently ranked a career-high No. 373 in the ATP Entry Ranking in his first full season as a professional. Last year, he made his tour-level debut at the US Open, earning a wild card as the USTA Boys’ 18s champion and lost to defending champion Andy Roddick in the first round. This year he has reached the semifinals of USTA Futures in Harlingen, Texas and Auburn, Calif., and the quarterfinals of USTA Challengers in Aptos, Calif., and Lexington, Ky.
Philippoussis, 28, is currently No. 202 in the ATP Entry Ranking. The winner of 10 ATP singles titles has been ranked as high as No. 8 in the world and reached the final at the US Open in 1998 and Wimbledon in 2003. Philippoussis has played only eight tour-level events this year due to injury with his best finish coming in June when he reached the semifinals of ‘s-Hertogenbosch.
Ram, 21, is currently No. 221 in the ATP Entry Ranking, one spot below his career-high set two weeks ago. He reached his first Challenger final at the USTA $75,000 event in Aptos this summer and reached the semifinals of the Forest Hills Grass Court Challenger and Tampa Futures. Last year, he made his Grand Slam debut at the US Open.
Reynolds, 23, is currently a career-high No. 129 in the ATP Entry Rankings following a quarterfinal finish at the US Open Series event in Washington, D.C. He began the year by qualifying for the main draw at the Australian Open, where he reached the third round. Reynolds is 10-3 on the USTA Pro Circuit this summer, reaching the final of the Lexington Challenger and the semifinals of Aptos and Binghamton.
Young, 16, currently the No. 1 junior tennis player in the world, earned his wild card by winning the 2005 USTA Boys’ 18s National Championship last weekend in Kalamazoo, Mich. He will attempt to become the youngest player to win a men’s singles match at the US Open since Michael Chang in 1987, and will be the sixth youngest boy ever to compete in the US Open. Young defeated Sam Querrey in the Kalamazoo final 7-6(4), 5-7, 6-2 to become the second African-American to win the Boys’ 18s title in the tournament’s 90-year history, joining last year’s winner Jenkins.
The US Open Men’s Singles Championship is presented by Lexus. Both the men’s and women’s US Open singles champions will earn $1.1 million with the ability to earn up to $2.2 million based on their performances in the US Open Series. In addition, both US Open singles champions will receive a 2006 Lexus GS 430 automobile.
In addition to the eight US Open men’s singles main draw wild cards, the USTA also announced the nine men who have been awarded wild card entries into the US Open Qualifying Tournament, which will be held August 23-26 at the USTA National Tennis Center.
Six of the nine qualifying wild card recipients are age19 or younger.
Players receiving US Open qualifying wild cards are: Alex Clayton (17, Bradenton, Fla.), Brendan Evans (19, Key Biscayne, Fla.), Zack Fleishman (25, Playa del Rey, Calif.), John Paul Fruttero (24, Berkeley, Calif.), Jesse Levine (17, Boca Raton, Fla.), Wayne Odesnik (19, Weston, Fla.), Sam Querrey (17, Thousand Oaks, Calif.), Travis Rettenmaier (22, Los Angeles), and Timothy Smyczek (17, Milwaukee, Wisc.).