Donaldson, Rubin and Giron Receive US Open Main Draw Wild Cards; Six Teens Collect Qualifying Wild Cards
The USTA announced the wild cards for the US Open today, with six US men receiving main draw wild cards and seven receiving qualifying wild cards.
National 18s champion Noah Rubin and USTA Wild Card Challenge winner Wayne Odesnik had already earned their wild cards; Marcos Giron was all but guaranteed one when he captured the NCAA singles title in May.
With those three spoken for, much speculation surrounded the other three, and they were given to Ryan Harrison, Tim Smyczek and Jared Donaldson.
The 22-year-old Harrison (current ATP rank of 164), 26-year-old Smyczek (current ATP rank of 92) and 17-year-old Donaldson (current ATP rank of 308) are at different stages of their careers, so there's no obvious theme regarding their selection. It's possible that Smyczek, who is only three or four players out of the main draw, will get in on his own ranking before next week's qualifying begins, freeing up his wild card, but who that might go to is difficult to gauge. Perhaps veterans Robby Ginepri or Mike Russell, or Denis Kudla, who is the highest ranked American not in the main draw, but his playing status since announcing he has mono last month is unknown.
The reciprocal agreements between federations resulted in Bernard Tomic of Australia and Michael Llodra of France also receiving wild cards. Tomic won an ATP tour title the week after the cutoff, and is now No. 70 in the rankings; the case for the 34-year-old Llodra is much less clear, as there are several younger French players with higher ATP rankings that would have been more conventional choices.
If there is no theme in the main draw wild cards, that can't be said of the qualifying wild cards, where the oldest recipient is Virginia rising senior Mitchell Frank at 21. Collin Altamirano was awarded his for making the 18s final at Kalamazoo, and four other quarterfinalists at Kalamazoo were granted wild cards, three of them 16: Stefan Kozlov, Francis Tiafoe and Taylor Fritz, along with 18-year-old Ernesto Escobedo. UCLA's Mackenzie McDonald, 19, rounds out the American selections, with France's Mathias Bourgue, 20, receiving a reciprocal wild card.
There are two more qualifying wild cards yet to be awarded ( one for men and one for women) with those going to the winners of the US Open National Playoffs, which begin this Friday in New Haven, Connecticut.
The full announcement from the USTA is here.