August 17, 2006
US Open Wild Cards Accounced
The USTA today announced that a talented group of young Americans consisting of Scoville Jenkins (Atlanta), Alex Kuznetsov (Richboro, Pa.), Wayne Odesnik (Weston, Fla.), Sam Querrey (Thousand Oaks, Calif.), Phillip Simmonds (Reston, Va.), Ryan Sweeting (Fort Lauderdale) and Donald Young (Atlanta), as well as Mark Philippoussis of Australia, have been awarded men's singles main draw wild card entries into the 2006 US Open, to be played Aug. 28-Sep. 10.
The US Open Men's Singles Championship is presented by Lexus. Both the men's and women's US Open singles champions will earn $1.2 million with the ability to earn an additional $1 million in bonus prize money (for a total $2.2 million potential payout) based on their performances in the US Open Series.
Jenkins, 20, is currently ranked No. 265 in the world. He reached the second round at the 2005 US Open, defeating George Bastl in a fifth set tiebreak after a 4 ½ hour marathon, before losing to No. 2 seed Rafael Nadal. Jenkins won his first pro singles title at a $10,000 event in Kissimmee, Fla., in January. He also reached the second round as a qualifier at the U.S. Men's Clay Court Championships in Houston in April, and reached the semifinals of a $50,000 challenger in Winnetka, Ill., in July. Jenkins won the 2004 USTA Boys' 18s National Championship.
Kuznetsov, 19, is currently ranked No. 272 in the world. He improved his ranking over 130 places in one week after winning his first pro singles title at a $75,000 challenger in Aptos, Calif. in July. In 2005, Kuznetsov began the year strong, reaching two Futures finals before suffering a broken leg in a car crash in late May. He was the 2004 French Open boys' singles runner-up.
Odesnik, 20, is currently ranked No. 185 in the world. He has won seven career Futures titles in 13 final appearances, including consecutive titles at $15,000 events in Little Rock, Ark., and Mobile, Ala., in March. Odesnik also won in consecutive weeks at $15,000 events in Waikoloa, Hawaii and Honolulu in November. He improved his year-end ranking for the fourth consecutive year in 2005.
Philippoussis, 29, is currently ranked No. 112 in the world. He has been ranked as high as No. 8 and reached the final at the 1998 US Open and 2003 Wimbledon. Philippoussis has played only nine tour-level events this year due to injury and won his 11th career ATP title at Newport in July. His wild card is part of a reciprocal arrangement with Tennis Australia, which will grant a men's singles main draw wild card into the 2007 Australian Open to a player designated by the USTA.
Querrey, 18, is currently ranked a career-high No. 178 in the world after beginning the year at No. 756. The 6'6" teenager won two singles titles in his first three events played since turning pro in June, beginning with a victory at his pro debut at a $50,000 challenger in Yuba City, Calif. He also won a $50,000 challenger in Winnetka, Ill., in July before winning first round matches in consecutive ATP events in Newport, Indianapolis and Los Angeles.
Simmonds, 20, is currently ranked No. 240 in the world. He won his first pro singles title at a $10,000 event in Boca Raton, Fla. in January, and also won a $25,000 challenger in Mexico in April. In October, he reached his first pro singles final at a $50,000 challenger in Sacramento, Calif. He won the 2003 Australian Open boys' doubles title with Scott Oudsema.
Sweeting, 19, is currently ranked No. 557 in the world and is the reigning US Open boys' singles champion. He won his first pro singles title at a $10,000 event in Vero Beach, Fla. in May, and reached the semifinals at Futures events in Buffalo, N.Y., and Peoria, Ill. this summer. Sweeting reached the second round in his tour-level debut this month in Washington, D.C., defeating Justin Gimelstob in the first round before losing to eventual champion Arnaud Clement of France.
Young, 17, earned his wild card by successfully defending his title at the 2006 USTA Boys' 18s National Championship last weekend in Kalamazoo, Mich. He finished 2005 as the world's No. 1 ranked junior, the youngest ever to accomplish that feat at 16 years, 5 months. He was the 2005 Australian Open boys' singles champion. Young is currently ranked No. 573 in the world.
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 22-25 at the USTA National Tennis Center.
Six of the nine qualifying wild card recipients are age 20 or younger.
Players receiving US Open qualifying wild cards are: Ryler De Heart (22, Tampa, Fla.), Brendan Evans (20, Key Biscayne, Fla.), Marcus Fugate (18, Fairport, N.Y.), Nikita Kryvonos (19, Flushing, N.Y.), Jesse Levine (18, Boca Raton, Fla.), Scott Oudsema (20, Kalamazoo, Mich.), Rajeev Ram (22, Carmel, Ind.), Tim Smyczek (18, Hales Corners, Wisc.), and Robert Yim (21, Glendale, Calif.).
The 2006 US Open will mark the culmination of the US Open Series, the six-week summer tennis season linking all major ATP and Sony Ericsson WTA Tour tournaments in North America to the US Open. The US Open is the highest attended annual sporting event in the world. More than 87 million viewers watched the 2005 US Open on CBS Sports and USA Network, and international broadcasts reached 184 countries.