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Friday, March 10, 2006

Wild Cards Make Good

Wild Cards Make Good ~~~

If there was any kind of race to see which 2005 Kalamazoo participant would be the first to win an ATP match, we have a winner. Sam Querrey, last year's runnerup to Donald Young at the 18s Nationals, defeated Bobby Reynolds in straight sets Friday at the Pacific Life Open to earn that distinction in only his third attempt (and second wild card). Young, who was to play Tim Henman before rain scrambled Friday's schedule, was taking his eighth crack at it.

Querrey had orignally drawn Taylor Dent as an opponent, but when Dent withdrew with back problems, Bobby Reynolds was the lucky loser from qualifying elevated to the main draw. Here's a link to the Pacific Life website's story. Since I've spelled Querrey's name wrong in the past, I won't get too worked up about that particular error.

Another Southern Californian teenager used a wild card to advantage, but when Vania King wins at the WTA level, it's really not news anymore. Her next opponent is 16th seed Klara Koukalova, whom she beat at last year's U.S. Open to reach the round of 64.

Next up for Querrey is a bigger challenge-- James Blake. This matchup is particularly interesting because Querrey served as a hitting partner for Blake last December in Chicago. The two had become acquainted when Querrey was invited to Belgium with the U.S. Davis Cup team and Blake asked Querrey to fly in from California for a week's worth of workouts at a suburban club before Christmas. I know Querrey admires Blake, and I imagine he's thrilled at the prospect of being across the net from him again, with quite a bit more on the line.


Anonymous said...

Collete, wild cards at these events are a real joke. Been reading your comments and those of readers the past week and have come to the following conclusion.

If you're part of the "elite tennis community" or sponsored by IMG or SFX, it doesn't matter what your ability is, you will get a wild card.

Donald Young, was deserving of a wild card in the US Open last year, because of his rankings. This year, he can't beat boys let alone men.

Does the USTA and tournament operators here in America think that giving wild cards to these players will bring new interest into tennis. Seeing someone lose in 50 minutes certainly isn't bringing new interest to the game, more or less turning them away.

Who wants to see a kid 16 years old, like the little girl from Evert's play? Maybe her parents, those affiilated with Evert's, Chris and her agents?

I would think that to expand interest in tennis you need to allow the better players in these events, instead of giving hand outs. In effect, why not just give those "elite" kids a check and let them pay their way into the tournaments, until they deserve a berth?

Sam Querry, different story. He can beat boys and men. Good job Sam!

Anonymous said...

Excellent post, I could not agree more. I have seen people like Alexandra Stevenson and Angela Haynes who have been training at Carson. In Stevensons case, she has been working her tail off from that injury, I think shoulder? I am sure Haynes and others are working hard as well, but does that justify the wild cards they are receiving, while other more deserving players are left out? There is definitely favouritism being played out within the USTA, and when they are combined with IMG (Evert) it will only get worse.