The USTA announced the return of the Australian Open Wild Card Challenge presented by the USTA, which utilizes indoor and outdoor hard-court pro tournaments to award wild cards into the 2018 Australian Open for American players. The women’s challenge will kick off the week of Oct. 23 and conclude the week of Nov. 6, while the men’s challenge will begin the week of Oct. 30 and conclude the week of Nov. 13.
New this year for the men’s wild card challenge, USTA Player Development will consider all American players’ results worldwide for the wild cards (main draw and qualifying). USTA Pro Circuit tournaments and U.S. and international ATP World Tour events at the ATP Challenger-level and above played on a hard-court surface will be included. The women’s challenge will include select $80,000 USTA Pro Circuit hard-court events (main draw only).
The American man and American woman who earn the most ATP World Tour and WTA ranking points, respectively, from their best two results during the three-week time period will earn main-draw wild cards into the Australian Open.
Only Americans who did not otherwise earn direct entry into the Australian Open are eligible. In the event of a tie, the player with the best ATP (on Nov. 14) or best WTA (on Nov. 7) singles ranking will be awarded the wild card. The USTA and Tennis Australia have a reciprocal agreement in which wild cards into the 2017 US Open and 2018 Australian Open are exchanged.
All USTA Pro Circuit tournaments will be streamed live on www.procircuit.usta.com.
The Australian Open Wild Card Challenge will consist of the following events:
Week of Oct. 23: Macon, Ga. $80,000
Week of Oct. 30: Tyler, Texas $80,000
Week of Nov. 6: Waco, Texas $80,000
Week of Oct. 30: Paris ATP Masters 1000; Canberra, Australia $75,000; Shenzhen, China $75,000+H; Charlottesville, Va. $75,000
Week of Nov. 6: Bratislava, Slovakia €106,000+H; Mouilleron Le Captif, France €85,000+H; Knoxville, Tenn. $75,000; Kobe, Japan $50,000+H
Week of Nov. 13: Champaign, Ill. $75,000; Pune, India $50,000+H
The USTA first used this wild card format in 2012 to award wild cards into the French Open and US Open and has been doing so ever since. Last year, young Americans Michael Mmoh and Kayla Day earned wild cards into the 2017 Australian Open by winning the wild card challenge. Both players have since broken into the Top 150. This year, then-15-year old Amanda Anisimova and Tennys Sandgren, who was on the comeback from hip surgery, won the Roland Garros Wild Card Challenge for wild cards into the French Open, and young Americans Sofia Kenin and Tommy Paul earned US Open wild cards by winning the US Open Wild Card Challenge this summer; Kenin reached the third round in New York to face Maria Sharapova in Arthur Ashe Stadium.
The 2018 Australian Open main draw will be held Monday, Jan. 15, through Sunday, Jan. 28.
Information on the Australian Open Wild Card Challenge and the USTA Pro Circuit is available at www.procircuit.usta.com. Follow the USTA Pro Circuit #USTAProCircuit.
The USTA is the national governing body for the sport of tennis in the U.S. and the leader in promoting and developing the growth of tennis at every level -- from local communities to the highest level of the professional game. A not-for-profit organization with more than 715,000 members, it invests 100% of its proceeds in growing the game. It owns and operates the US Open, one of the highest-attended annual sporting events in the world, and launched the US Open Series, linking seven summer WTA and ATP World Tour tournaments to the US Open. In addition, it owns approximately 90 Pro Circuit events throughout the U.S. and selects the teams for the Davis Cup, Fed Cup, Olympic and Paralympic Games. The USTA’s philanthropic entity, the USTA Foundation, provides grants and scholarships in addition to supporting tennis and education programs nationwide to benefit under-resourced youth through the National Junior Tennis & Learning (NJTL) network. For more information about the USTA, go to USTA.com or follow the official accounts on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat.