(April 3, 2014) The USTA announced the tournaments for the Har-Tru USTA Pro Circuit Wild Card Challenge, which utilizes the USTA Pro Circuit to award wild cards into the French Open. Three women’s events will be hosted in Dothan, Ala., Charlottesville, Va., and Indian Harbour Beach, Fla., and three men’s events will take place in Sarasota, Fla., Savannah, Ga., and Tallahassee, Fla. The challenge kicks off on Monday, April 14, in Dothan and Sarasota.
Har-Tru Sports, the leading provider of clay tennis courts, is in its second year as title sponsor of the challenge after signing a three-year agreement in 2013. New this year, Har-Tru is launching a “Be One with the Clay” video contest in which tennis fans of all ages can create a video, demonstrating how clay courts have impacted their games. After a public voting process, the contest winner will win a trip for two to the JW Marriott Desert Springs Resort & Spa in Palm Springs, Calif.
In the Har-Tru USTA Pro Circuit Wild Card Challenge, the American man and American woman who earn the most ATP World Tour and WTA Tour ranking points at two of the three select USTA Pro Circuit clay-court events earn main draw wild cards into the French Open. Only Americans who did not otherwise earn direct entry into the French Open are eligible. The USTA and the French Tennis Federation have a reciprocal agreement in which wild cards into the 2014 French and US Opens are exchanged. All tournaments will be streamed live on www.procircuit.usta.com.
“The USTA Pro Circuit’s clay-court season allows American players to develop their games and prepare for the French Open in their own backyards at some of our best clay-court facilities nationwide,” said Brian Earley, Director of the USTA Pro Circuit. “By partnering with Har-Tru through the Har-Tru USTA Pro Circuit Wild Card Challenge, we are also proud to utilize this time of the year to provide Americans who may not otherwise have the opportunity, the chance to get into the French Open. The challenge is a great asset to our season.”
The Har-Tru USTA Pro Circuit Wild Card Challenge will consist of the following events:
USTA Pro Circuit Women’s Events
– Dothan Pro Classic, $50,000 Dothan, Ala. (week of April 14)
– Boyd Tinsley Women’s Clay Court Classic, $50,000 Charlottesville, Va. (week of April 21)
– Audi Melbourne Pro Tennis Classic, $50,000 Indian Harbour Beach, Fla. (week of April 28)
USTA Pro Circuit Men’s Events
– 2014 Sarasota Open, $100,000 Sarasota, Fla. (week of April 14)
– Savannah Challenger, $50,000 Savannah, Ga. (week of April 21)
– USTA Tallahassee Tennis Challenger, $50,000 Tallahassee, Fla. (week of April 28)
In conjunction with the Har-Tru USTA Pro Circuit Wild Card Challenge, Har-Tru’s “Be One with the Clay” video contest is designed to empower tennis players and enthusiasts to share stories about how their love of tennis has been enhanced by the power of playing and training on clay. Fans of all ages can create a video, showcasing how clay has had an impact on their game, and submit it on www.beonewiththeclay.com. Fans can vote for their favorite videos on the website. The contest winner will receive a trip for two to the JW Marriott Desert Springs Resort & Spa in Palm Springs, Calif., and play tennis on the resort’s Har-Tru tennis courts. The contest is now open and runs through May 31. Fan voting will be held from June 17-July 6, with the winner being announced on July 7.
“Think of how many junior players have dreamed about playing even just one match in a Grand Slam tournament. We’re very excited that Har-Tru gets to foster that dream through our involvement with the USTA Pro Circuit series held on our surface,” said Pat Hanssen, general manager of Har-Tru Sports. “We are also energized about providing interesting ways for fans of the game to connect to us. The “Be One with the Clay” contest we are adding this year does just that, by providing avid tennis players a creative and fun opportunity to share their passion for the game and to share stories about what playing on clay has done for them.”
The USTA first used this 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. Last year, Alex Kuznetsov and Shelby Rogers earned the wild cards with Rogers winning her first-ever Grand Slam singles match at the French Open.
The 2014 French Open main draw will be held Sunday, May 25, to Sunday, June 8.