TWO-TIME GRAND SLAM CHAMPION VICTORIA AZARENKA, FORMER US OPEN CHAMPION SVETLANA KUZNETSOVA, RISING AMERICANS AMANDA ANISIMOVA AND CLAIRE LIU HEADLINE US OPEN WOMEN’S WILD CARD RECIPIENTS
Bethanie Mattek-Sands, Coco Gauff, Gail Brodsky
among US Open Qualifying Wild Card Recipients
FLUSHING, N.Y., Aug. 14, 2018 – The USTA today announced that two-time Grand Slam champion and former World No. 1 Victoria Azarenka, 2004 US Open champion Svetlana Kuznetsova and rising American teenagers Amanda Anisimova and Claire Liu will receive main draw wild card entries into the US Open, joining USTA Girls’ 18s National Champion Whitney Osuigwe and US Open Wild Card Challenge winner Asia Muhammad as main draw wild card recipients. France’s Harmony Tan and one Australian woman to be announced at a later date will also receive US Open main draw wild cards, by virtue of the wild card exchange agreements between the USTA and those two Grand Slam nations.
The 2018 US Open main draw will be played Aug. 27-Sept. 9 at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing, N.Y. Both the men’s and women’s singles champions this year will earn $3.8 million.
Azarenka, 29, of Belarus, is a two-time US Open finalist (2012-13) and a two-time Australian Open champion. She’s won 20 career WTA singles titles and is currently ranked No. 87.
Kuznetsova, 33, of Russia, won her first of two Grand Slam singles titles at the US Open in 2004, at 19 years old. Currently ranked No. 88, she’s a former world No. 2 and won her 18th WTA title this summer in Washington, D.C.
Anisimova, 16, of Aventura, Fla., is the second-youngest player ranked in the Top 200, at No. 173, and the 2017 US Open girls’ singles champion. She earned her first Top-10 win this year by defeating No. 9 Petra Kvitova to reach the fourth round at Indian Wells.
Liu, 18, of Thousand Oaks, Calif., is a former junior world No. 1 and the 2017 Wimbledon girls’ singles champion. Currently ranked No. 158, she qualified for the 2017 US Open and Wimbledon this summer, where she reached the second round and pushed eventual champion Angelique Kerber to three-sets.
Osuigwe, 16, of Bradenton, Fla., won the USTA Billie Jean King Girls’ 18s National Championship and will make her US Open main draw debut. Osuigwe won the French Open girls’ singles title in 2017 and was the world No. 1 junior.
Muhammad, 27, of Las Vegas, won the US Open Wild Card Challenge to earn her first US Open singles main draw appearance in 10 years. Currently ranked No. 217, Muhammad reached the US Open doubles quarterfinals with Taylor Townsend in 2016.
Tan, 20, will make her Grand Slam main draw debut after winning the French Federation’s wild card playoff. The USTA and French Federation exchanged main draw wild cards into the French and US Opens this year for one man and woman from the opposite country. American Taylor Townsend earned the reciprocal wild card into Roland Garros this year, where she reached the second round.
The USTA and Tennis Australia have the same arrangement with the 2018 US and Australian Opens. The Australian women’s wild card recipient will be announced at a later date.
The USTA also announced the nine women who have been awarded wild card entries into the US Open Qualifying Tournament, which will be held Aug. 21-24 at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, as the anchor event of US Open Fan Week, a series of events and activations taking place both at the grounds of the US Open as well as at the US Open Experience at Brookfield Place, in Manhattan.
The recipients are: Kayla Day (18, Santa Barbara, Calif.), the USTA Girls’ 18s runner-up and 2016 US Open girls’ singles champion; Coco Gauff (14, Delray Beach, Fla.), the junior world No. 1 and reigning French Open girls’ singles champion who was the youngest-ever girls’ singles finalist at the US Open last year; Caty McNally (16, Cincinnati), the 2018 French Open girls’ singles finalist and doubles champion; Ashley Kratzer (19, Newport Beach, Calif.), the 2017 USTA Girls’ 18s national champion; Ann Li (18, Devon, Pa.), the 2017 Wimbledon girls’ finalist; Bethanie Mattek-Sands (33, Rochester, Minn.), a five-time Grand Slam doubles champion, including the 2016 US Open doubles champion; Jessica Pegula (24, Buffalo, N.Y.), who nearly won the US Open Wild Card Challenge this summer; Danielle Lao (17, Arcadia, Calif.), a former All-American at USC; and Gail Brodsky (27, Brooklyn), the 2008 USTA Girls’ 18s national champion and now mother of two who returned to professional tennis this year and also nearly won the US Open Wild Card Challenge.
This year marks the 50th Anniversary of the US Open, and throughout Fan Week and the Main Draw of the tournament, special recognitions and ceremonies will take place to honor the tradition and history of the event, as well as celebrate its great champions. In addition, the 2018 US Open marks the completion of the Strategic Transformation of the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center with the opening of the new 14,000-seat Louis Armstrong Stadium. In all, the five-year project, which revamped more than 90 percent of the facility, will have incorporated the installation of a retractable roof over Arthur Ashe Stadium, the construction of a new Louis Armstrong Stadium (also with a retractable roof), a new Grandstand, new West Stadium and practice courts, as well as a completely renovated and redesigned southern campus.