2014/07/31

Nick Kyrgios and Ashleigh Barty Awarded French Open Wildcards

Nick Kyrgios from Australian open twitter feed

(May 13, 2014) Nick Kyrgios and Ashleigh Barty have been given wildcards into the French Open main draw. Roland Garros begins on May 25 in Paris.

Nineteen-year-old Kyrgios won back-to-back ATP Challenger events in the United States in April. At world No.159, Kyrgios is currently the only teenager ranked inside the men’s top 200.

The Canberra local will hope to use his wildcard entry to emulate a memorable main draw debut at Roland Garros last year, when he defeated world No.52 Radek Stepanek in the first round.

Davis Cup captain and men’s wildcard selector Pat Rafter said Kyrgios was a deserving recipient of a French Open berth.

“Nick has shown over the past 12 months that he can compete at Grand Slam level and also handle the pressure of big occasions like Davis Cup competition,” Rafter said.

“Nick really deserves this opportunity after being sidelined by injury and then returning to win back-to-back Challenger titles on clay.”

After celebrating her 18th birthday last month Ashleigh Barty will enter the French Open eligible to compete unrestricted on the WTA tour for the first time.

With a world ranking of 182 Barty’s focus for the year so far has been to contest the qualifyingrounds of high-level ITF events.

In February she joined the Australian Fed Cup team in Hobart, winning the doubles rubber against Russia to help the Aussie side to victory. She was then named in the team to take on Germany in last month’s semifinal tie, teaming with Casey Dellacqua to win the doubles rubber against a powerhouse German pair.

Barty will head to her third French Open looking to build on her maiden Grand Slam victory in the first round of the tournament last year.

“It’s really exciting to be awarded a wildcard into the French Open,” she said.

“I’ve obviously played at Roland Garros a few times now, including when I was a junior, so I’m familiar with the site and there’s just no better clay than at Roland Garros. It’s pretty special when you get there.

“I’ll give it a real go, you never know what’s going to happen. I’ve just got to go out there, keep my chin up and see how I go on the day.”

A reciprocal agreement with the French Tennis Federation allows Tennis Australia to select two Australian players to receive wildcard entries into Roland Garros each year. Rafter and Fed Cup captain Alicia Molik head the team of wildcard selectors.

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