Fifteen-Year Old Amanda Anisimova Claims USTA French Open Wild Card
From the USTA: (May 5, 2017) Amanda Anisimova, 15, will compete in the 2017 French Open main draw after winning the 2017 Roland Garros Wild Card Challenge. In doing so, the 2016 French Open junior finalist will become the youngest player to compete in the main draw at Roland Garros since Alize Cornet in 2005. She is the first player born in 2001 to compete in a Grand Slam main draw.
Anisimova claimed 118 points in the wild card challenge by reaching back-to-back singles finals at the $80,000 USTA Pro Circuit event in Indian Harbour Beach, Fla., and the $60,000 USTA Pro Circuit event in Dothan, Ala. Victoria Duval and Caroline Dolehide—the only players who could surpass Anisimova in the standings—both lost at the $60,000 USTA Pro Circuit event in Charleston, S.C., this week.
USTA Player Development awards a French Open main draw wild card to one American man and one American woman who earn the most ATP World Tour and WTA ranking points in a series of clay-court events this spring. The women’s wild card challenge consisted of results earned at USTA Pro Circuit clay-court events over the past four weeks. The USTA and the French Tennis Federation have a reciprocal agreement in which wild cards into the 2017 French Open and US Open are exchanged.
Anisimova, who resides in Florida and is currently ranked No. 264 in the world, will be making her Grand Slam main draw debut. She competed in 2016 US Open qualifying in her only previous Grand Slam appearance. Anisimova is currently the No. 5-ranked junior in the world; she peaked at No. 2 in June 2016 after reaching the French Open girls’ final. Indian Harbour Beach and Dothan were Anisimova’s first career main draw USTA Pro Circuit events. She also competed in her first WTA main draw at the Miami Open this March, losing to Taylor Townsend in three sets in the opening round.
The men’s wild card challenge will also conclude this week. Tennys Sandgren, continuing a successful comeback from hip surgery, is currently in the lead after reaching the final of the $100,000 USTA Pro Circuit Challenger in Sarasota, Fla., two weeks ago and also qualifying for the U.S. Men’s Clay Court Championships in Houston the week prior. Sandgren is currently in the quarterfinals of the $75,000 USTA Pro Circuit Challenger in Savannah, Ga.
The USTA first used the wild card challenge format for its 2012 French Open wild cards, won by Melanie Oudin and Brian Baker. Oudin and Baker each advanced to the second round at that year’s French Open and subsequently broke into the Top 100. In 2013, Alex Kuznetsov and Shelby Rogers earned the wild cards, with Rogers winning her first-ever Grand Slam singles match at the French Open. In 2014, young American Taylor Townsend and veteran Robby Ginepri received the wild cards, with Townsend becoming a top storyline by reaching the Roland Garros third round. In 2015, young Americans Frances Tiafoe and Louisa Chirico secured the wild cards. Last year, Townsend and Bjorn Fratangelo earned the wild cards, with both players winning their first-round matches.