>> Saturday, January 9, 2010
The anticipation for the first tennis grand slam of the new decade, the Australian Open 2010, is heating up with the announcement of main draw wild card entries. A wild card refers to a tournament entry awarded to a tennis player that has not qualified through the normal requirements.
The Australian Open offers eight wildcards into both the men’s and women’s events as follows:
1. One slot for the reciprocal agreement with French Open
2. One slot for the reciprocal agreement with US Open
3. One slot for the top Asian player
4. One slot for the Australian Open Play Off winner (Australian players only)
5. Four slots to be allocated at the discretion of the tournament organizers
The following are the list of wild cards given so far:
WOMEN (age, WTA 2009 year-end rank)
1. Jarmila Groth, Australia (age = 22, 111)
2. Casey Dellacqua, Australia (age = 24, 999)
3. Alicia Molik, Australia (age = 28, 198)
4. Olivia Rogowska, Australia (age = 18, 146)
5. Coco Vandeweghe, USA (age = 18, 325)
6. Stephanie Cohen-Aloro, France (age = 27, 122)
7. Sesil Karatantcheva, Kazhakstan (age = 20, 134)
8. Justine Henin, Belgium (age = 27, N.A.)
MEN (age, ATP 2009 year-end rank)
1. Nick Lindahl, Australia (age = 21, 251)
2. Jason Kubler, Australia (age = 16, N.A.)
3. Bernard Tomic, Australia (age = 17, 287)
4. Carsten Ball, Australia (age = 22, 134)
5. Marinko Matosevic, Australia (age = 24, 184)
6. Sebastien Grosjean, France (age = 31, 677)
7. Andrey Golubev, Kazakhstan (age = 22, 132)
8. Ryan Harrison, USA (age = 17, 362)
* Kazakh players Golubev and Karatantcheva got the wildcards reserved for the Asia.
* Two wildcards went to unranked players - Henin and Kubler.
* Five of the eight wildcards went to teenagers, the youngest is Kubler at 16.
* Molik, 28, is the oldest woman given a wildcard. Grosjean, 31, is the oldest man.
* Henin is the only former Grand Slam winner and #1 player in the list. She is the only non-Australian to be awarded a wild card at the tournament's discretion.
There have been 2 grand slam winners in tennis history that have gained tournament entry due to wild cards. They are Goran Ivanisevic, who won the Wimbledon 2001 men's championship and Kim Clijsters, who won the US Open 2009 ladies singles tournament.