Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Swiatek, Jubb Receive Wimbledon Main Draw Wild Cards, Gauff, Tseng Given Qualifying Wild Cards; Division III ITA Team Indoor Fields Set

Wimbledon announced the first of its wild cards today, and with qualifying beginning on Monday, June 24, the only qualifying wild cards remaining to be awarded are those based on the results of an LTA playoff tournament beginning tomorrow.

Only four of the eight main draw wild cards have been announced as of today, with performances in the grass court events this week probably figuring into the remaining choices.

Harriet Dart, Great Britain
Katie Swan, Great Britain
Iga Swiatek, Poland
Heather Watson, Great Britain

Marcos Baghdatis, Cyprus
Jay Clarke, Great Britain
Paul Jubb, Great Britain
James Ward, Great Britain

2018 girls Wimbledon champion Swiatek, 18, is unquestionably deserving of a wild card, having reached the fourth round at Roland Garros and currently sporting a WTA ranking of 65. Thirty-four-year-old Baghdatis, currently ranked 139, is a surprise recipient, with some speculating that he was given a wild card because he might retire before next year.

NCAA champion Jubb has won two matches on grass this week at the ATP 125 Challenger in Ilkley, solidifying his status as rising star in England, and AELTC did not hesitate to give him an opportunity to play at Wimbledon. The Daily Mail published an article today on the dilemma the prize money represents for Jubb, who still has a year left at South Carolina, and is bound by the NCAA rules for amateurs if he wishes to retain his eligibility for his senior year. As the article states, the 45,000 British pounds he will earn just for playing in the main draw can be used for actual and necessary expenses, and with his decision to take the fall off to build his ATP ranking he could probably find a way to spend it. But ultimately it not make sense for him to return, especially if he continues to win matches at the Challenger level over the next six months.  There are two errors in the article, the first stating that Jubb has beaten two Top 100 players already, which is not true, and the second stating that "the rules are stricter for those who have not yet enrolled at college" regarding the prize money. Actually, the rules are more lenient for future student-athletes, as they can earn $10,000 a year, no questions asked, before they are subject to the actual and necessary expenses restriction.

Qualifying wild cards:
Liam Broady, Great Britain
Jan Choinski, Great Britain
Jack Draper, Great Britain
Evan Hoyt, Great Britain
Nicolas Mahut, Great Britain
Aidan McHugh, Great Britain
Chun Hsin Tseng, Taiwan
Wild Card Play-off Place
Wild Card Play-off Place

Katy Dunne, Great Britain
Cori Gauff, United States
Francesca Jones, Great Britain
Sabine Lisicki, Germany
Maia Lumsden, Great Britain
Emma Raducanu, Great Britain
Gabriella Taylor, Great Britain
Wild Card Play-off Place
Wild Card Play-off Place

Tseng, 17, is the 2018 Wimbledon boys champion, and AELTC has traditionally extended a qualifying wild card invitation to their junior champions the following year. Draper, also 17, was the Wimbledon boys finalist last year. McHugh, 18, is a former ITF Top 10 junior.

Gauff's wild card is something of a surprise, although she does have a Grade 1 title at Roehampton last year and a quarterfinal appearance the following week at the Wimbledon juniors to bolster her credentials on grass.

Doubles wild cards were also awarded today; the list as it currently stands is available here.

The 2020 ITA Division III Team Indoor fields were announced yesterday. Gustavus Adolphus hosts the men's tournament in Minnesota February 21-23 and Centre College will host the women's tournament in Kentucky February 28-March 1. The fields are never as strong as the NCAAs, because the New England Small College Athletic Conference teams do not participate, but it is unquestionably the second biggest event of the Division III season, just as it is in Division I. With no rankings released before the Team Indoor championships, the seedings are based on the previous spring's final rankings.

The men's teams:
1. Emory University
2. Claremont Mudd Scripps
3. University of Chicago
4. Brandeis University
5. Washington University in St. Louis
6. Kenyon College
7. Case Western Reserve University
8. Gustavus Adolphus College (Host)

The women's teams:
1. Claremont Mudd Scripps
2. Emory University
3. Pomona Pitzer Colleges
4. Carnegie Mellon University
5. University of Chicago
6. MIT
7. Brandeis University
8. Centre College (host)