| By New York Tennis Magazine Staff

The USTA has announced that 2001 U.S. Open champion Lleyton Hewitt of Australia and a group of Americans consisting of former U.S. Open semifinalist Robby Ginepri, teenager Ryan Harrison, reigning NCAA champion Steve Johnson, Jack Sock, who won his second consecutive USTA Boys’ 18s title on Sunday, and current world number 89th ranked player Donald Young, along with France’s Julien Benneteau, have been awarded men’s singles main draw wild card entries into the 2011 U.S. Open.

One additional wild card will be given to the winner of the 2011 U.S. Open Wild Card Playoff, an eight-player invitational event held by USTA Player Development at the Junior Tennis Champions Center, a USTA Certified Regional Training Center in College Park, Md., this week.

Both the men’s and women’s U.S. Open singles champions will win $1.8 million in prize money with the ability to earn an additional $1 million in bonus prize money (for a total potential payout of $2.8 million) based on their performance in the 2011 Olympus U.S. Open Series. The U.S. Open Men’s Singles Championship is presented by Mercedes-Benz USA.

►Ginepri, 28, of Kennesaw, Ga., has played in just six events since the 2010 US Open after undergoing arm surgery last September, and is currently ranked No. 305 after reaching the final of the USTA Pro Circuit $100,000 Challenger in Vancouver earlier this month. He achieved a career-high ranking of No. 15 in 2005 after reaching the semifinals of the US Open that year. Ginepri has won three career ATP World Tour singles titles and has been a member of the U.S. Davis Cup and Olympic tennis teams.

►Hewitt, 30, of Adelaide, Australia, received his wild card through a reciprocal arrangement with Tennis Australia, which will grant a men’s singles main draw wild card into the 2012 Australian Open to a player designated by the USTA. He is a former world number one and the winner of 28 career singles titles, including 2001 U.S. Open and 2002 Wimbledon.

►Harrison, 19, of Bradenton, Fla., is currently ranked 78th in the world and is the youngest American in the top 100. This summer he reached consecutive semifinals at the Olympus US Open Series events in Atlanta and Los Angeles, where he lost to the top-ranked American Mardy Fish both times. Harrison was given a wild card into qualifying at the U.S. Open last year and won three matches to advance to the main draw, where he upset 15th seed Ivan Ljubicic in the first round and had match points in the second round before losing in a fifth set tiebreak.

►Reigning NCAA champion Johnson, 21, of Orange, Calif., captured the title as a junior at USC and also helped lead the Trojans to their third consecutive NCAA team title. Johnson earned 2011 All-America honors and competed on the USTA Collegiate Team this summer, where he reached his first pro final (as an amateur) at the $15,000 USTA Pro Circuit Futures in Sacramento, Calif. Johnson was a practice partner for the U.S. Davis Cup team in July during the 2011 quarterfinal between the United States and Spain in Austin, Texas.

►Sock, 18, of Lincoln, Neb., recently turned pro and successfully defended his title at the USTA Boys’ 18s National Championships on Sunday to earn a wild card into the U.S. Open men’s singles draw for the second consecutive year, and become the first back-to-back USTA Boys’ 18s champion since Donald Young in 2005-06. Last year, Sock became the first American to win the U.S. Open boys’ singles title since Andy Roddick in 2000.

►Young, 22, of Atlanta, re-entered the top 100 this year after reaching the semifinals of the Olympus U.S. Open Series event in Washington, D.C. earlier this month and upsetting two top 30 players—his career-best result. This year, he also advanced to the third round of Indian Wells, where he defeated world number five-ranked Andy Murray en route, and then captured his sixth career USTA Pro Circuit singles title. A two-time Grand Slam junior tournament champion, Young became the youngest-ever year-end world number one junior in 2005. He first broke into the top 100 in 2007 when he reached the third round of the U.S. Open.

►Benneteau, 29, of Bourg en Bresse, France, received his wild card through a reciprocal arrangement with the French Tennis Federation, which granted a wild card into the 2011 French Open to a player designated by the USTA (Tim Smyczek, who won a USTA playoff). Benneteau is currently ranked 112th after having reached a career-high number 32 in 2010.

 

In addition to the eight U.S. Open men’s singles main draw wild cards, the USTA also announced eight men who have been awarded wild card entries into the U.S. Open Qualifying Tournament, which will be held Aug. 23-26 at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. One additional U.S. Open qualifying wild card will be awarded to the winner of the 2011 U.S. Open National Playoffs Men’s Championship, taking place Aug. 18-21 in New Haven, Conn.

Players receiving 2011 U.S. Open qualifying wild cards are: 2011 USTA Boys’ 18s runner-up Mitchell Frank (18, Annandale, Va.); 2011 French Open boys’ singles champion Bjorn Fratangelo (18, Plum, Pa.); 2011 Easter Bowl champion Marcos Giron (18, Thousand Oaks, Calif.); Bradley Klahn (20, Poway, Calif.), the 2010 NCAA men’s singles champion and a rising senior at Stanford; Daniel Kosakowski (19, Huntington Park, Calif.), who recently turned professional after his freshman year at UCLA; Denis Kudla (18, Arlington, Va.), who recently reached the quarterfinals at the ATP World Tour event in Newport, R.I.; and two University of Tennessee standouts, Tennys Sandgren (20, Gallatin, Tenn.), who won back-to-back titles on the USTA Pro Circuit this summer; and 2011 NCAA men’s singles runner-up Rhyne Williams (20, Knoxville, Tenn.), who turned professional this summer.

The USTA also announced the seven women who have been awarded women’s singles main draw wild card entries into the 2011 U.S. Open Tennis Championships: Americans Jill Craybas, USTA Girls’ 18s Champion Lauren Davis, Jamie Hampton, Alison Riske, and teenager Sloane Stephens, along with Australia’s Casey Dellacqua and France’s Aravane Rezai. One additional wild card will be given to the winner of the 2011 U.S. Open Wild Card Playoff, an eight-player invitational event held by USTA Player Development at the Junior Tennis Champions Center, a USTA Certified Regional Training Center in College Park, Md., this week.

Both the men’s and women’s US Open singles champions will win $1.8 million in prize money with the ability to earn an additional $1 million in bonus prize money (for a total potential payout of $2.8 million) based on their performance in the 2011 Olympus U.S. Open Series. The U.S. Open Women’s Singles Championship is presented by JPMorgan Chase.

►Craybas, 37, of Huntington Beach, Calif., has finished in the WTA top 100 for each of the past 10 seasons, and has competed in the main draw of every Grand Slam event since the 2000 U.S. Open, a streak of 44 tournaments. In 2005, she beat Serena Williams en route to the fourth round of Wimbledon, her best showing at a Grand Slam event. The 1996 NCAA singles champion has represented the United States in the Olympics (2008 Beijing) and Fed Cup.

►Davis, 17, of Gates Mills, Ohio, won the USTA Girls’ 18s National Championships on Sunday to earn a wild card into the U.S. Open women’s singles draw, and will make her second career appearance in a Grand Slam event; she won a USTA Wild Card Playoff to earn entry into the 2011 Australian Open, where she lost to Samantha Stosur in the first round. Davis finished 2010 on a 32-match winning streak, capturing two USTA Pro Circuit singles titles and three international junior singles titles, including the Orange Bowl.

►Hampton, 21, of Auburn, Ala., climbed more than 550 spots in the WTA rankings in 2010 by reaching the final at eight USTA Pro Circuit events, highlighted by four singles titles. In January, she successfully qualified for the main draw of the 2011 Australian Open, and also qualified for WTA events in Indian Wells and Miami.

►Riske, 21, of McMurray, Pa., enjoyed a breakthrough 2010, highlighted by a semifinal showing at the Wimbledon tune-up event in Birmingham, England, which earned her a main draw wild card into Wimbledon. In October, Riske won three consecutive ITF Pro Circuit titles at the $50,000 level or higher in Europe, and earlier this year she reached the final of the USTA Pro Circuit $50,000 event in Indian Harbour Beach, Fla. She has also competed in the main draws of both Wimbledon and the Australian Open thus far in 2011.

►Stephens, 17, of Plantation, Fla., is currently ranked 110th in the world. She is coming off her first-ever win over a top 20 opponent (Julia Goerges) en route to reaching the quarterfinals of the Olympus US Open Series event in Carlsbad, Calif., her best finish at a WTA event. She made her Grand Slam debut at the 2011 French Open as a qualifier, and has also qualified for Indian Wells, Miami, Charleston, and Estoril thus far in 2011.

►Dellacqua, 26, of Perth, Australia, received her wild card through a reciprocal arrangement with Tennis Australia, which will grant a women’s singles main draw wild card into the 2012 Australian Open to a player designated by the USTA. She achieved a career-high WTA ranking of number 39 in 2008, and reached the fourth round of that year’s Australian Open, her best showing at a Grand Slam event. She won the mixed doubles title at the 2011 French Open.

►Rezai, 24, of St. Etienne, France, received her wild card through a reciprocal arrangement with the French Tennis Federation, which granted a wild card into the 2011 French Open to a player designated by the USTA (Irina Falconi, who won a USTA playoff). Rezai reached a career-high ranking of 15th in 2010 and has won four career WTA singles titles. She reached the round of 16 in her U.S. Open debut in 2006, which equals her best-ever showing at a Grand Slam event (2009 French Open).

In addition to the U.S. Open women’s singles main draw wild cards, the USTA also announced eight women who have been awarded wild card entries into the US Open Qualifying Tournament, which will be held Aug. 23-26 at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. One additional U.S. Open qualifying wild card will be awarded to the winner of the 2011 U.S. Open National Playoffs Women’s Championship, taking place Aug. 18-21 in New Haven, Conn.

Players receiving 2011 U.S. Open qualifying wild cards are: 2011 Wimbledon girls’ singles champion Ashleigh Barty (15, Ipswich, Australia); 2008 Orange Bowl champion Julia Boserup (19, Newport Beach, Calif.); 2010 US Open girls’ singles champion Daria Gavrilova (17, Moscow, Russia); two-time USTA Girls’ 18s finalist Nicole Gibbs (18, Santa Monica, Calif.), a rising sophomore at Stanford; 2010 Easter Bowl champion Krista Hardebeck (16, Santa Ana, Calif.); Madison Keys (16, Boca Raton, Fla.), who won her first professional title on the USTA Pro Circuit in June, 2010; Jessica Pegula (17, Boca Raton, Fla.), who reached her first professional final on the USTA Pro Circuit in January; and Taylor Townsend (15, Stockbridge. Ga.), who reached the semifinals at last week’s USTA Girls’ 18s National Championships.