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Tuesday, August 17, 2010

USTA Names Men's US Open Wild Cards

The USTA's announcement of the men's US Open wild cards early this afternoon caught me by surprise. Last year it was the Wednesday after the Nationals that the names were released. If you don't recall who received the wild cards last year, click here. None of the players who received a main draw wild card last year got one this year.

The main draw wild cards have gone to:
James Blake
Bradley Klahn
Jack Sock
Ryan Sweeting
Donald Young
Carsten Ball (Australia)
Guillaume Rufin (France)

The eighth will be determined by the wild card playoff that begins Wednesday morning in Boca Raton.

There were no real surprises in this group, with Sweeting and Young the highest ranked players from the US not already in.

It appears that Australia and France diverge in their thinking regarding wild cards this year. (I don't think they held tournaments to decide them, but if someone knows otherwise, please let me know). Australia opted against giving a wild card to 17-year-old Bernard Tomic, who is in the qualifying on his own ranking, and also bypassed the more highly ranked Chris Guccione in favor of Ball, while France elected to elevate 19-year-old Rufin, over five others from France in the qualifying who are ranked higher, including Wimbledon marathon man Nicolas Mahut.

I believe it's clear from the USTA's selections that they are encouraging those eligible for the 18s National junior wild card in Kalamazoo to compete for it. Many people expressed the opinion last year that Ryan Harrison did not play Kalamazoo because he knew he already had a main draw wild card sewn up. That was not true, and the fact that he and Alex Domijan did not receive wild cards this year indicates the USTA is sending a consistent message.

The qualifying wild cards went to:
Chase Buchanan
Jordan Cox
Andrea Collarini
Jarmere Jenkins
Steve Johnson
Greg Ouellette
Bob van Overbeek
Blake Strode
Rhyne Williams

Buchanan, Collarini, Jenkins and Johnson are also competing in the tournament for the main draw wild card, so if one of them wins, I think that will open up another qualifying wild card. For those who doubt the USTA's commitment to college tennis, five of the nine qualifying wild cards went to members of the USTA's Summer Collegiate team.

I'm surprised that Domijan is not on this list. I also wonder about the absence of Denis Kudla. Could it be that there was more riding on the outcome of that third and fourth place match between Cox and Kudla in Kalamazoo than we thought?

For the full article on the men's wild cards, see usopen.org. Last year the women's wild cards were announced the day after the men's.


Tony Barnes said...

I'm sorry, but you're wrong. Carsten Ball (#146) is ranked a lot higher than either Tomic (#252) or Guccione (#278)and falls about 50 spots outside direct entry to the US Open. He's been ranked as high as #108 this year and has, apart from not defending points he won by being runner-up at LA in 2009 (he played and won a Challenger instead), made continued improvement on his rankings. That's why they gave him the wildcard; he deserved it far more than anyone else and has the results to prove it.

Colette Lewis said...

Thanks Tony.
Guccione is actually higher on the acceptance list than Ball, but he must have lost a lot of points lately to be down to 278. He was 118 at the time of the USO cutoff last month.

avid follower said...

Now that Jack Sock has won Zoo and is in the men's main draw, will the USTA give him a WC into the main draw of the Jrs? Looks like he is scheduled to play in the qualies per the ITF entry list.
Looking at that list, he should probably even be seeded if he would have played Jr events.

Colette Lewis said...

@avid follower:
Sock receives an automatic wild card into the USO Jrs. and is planning on playing it.

Sam said...

Chris Guccione entered the U.S. Open qualifying w. a protected ranking of @118. (His actual ranking on the entry deadline was much lower & has continued to fall.)

Colette Lewis said...

Thanks for the info.

Austin said...

James Blake looks done to me. Managed to win 3 games this week. Too bad.

College Tennis said...

Donald Young again..Is he ever going to be a contender? Blake deserves a nice final farewell!

just saying said...

To College Tennis, Not sure how you can knock Young here. He's the highest ranked American not in the Main Draw. He was originally 7th Alternate and the only American alternate. Donald's results this year show he's currently playing better than any other young (age) guy. Hard to say anyone is more deserving in 2010 much less that there are 4 or 5 more viable WC candidates.