After claiming the 2013 wild card, Shelby Rogers went on to win her first career Grand Slam singles match at the French Open.
© Matthew Stockman/Getty Images
By Sally Milano, USTA.com
For the third straight year, the USTA Pro Circuit will be utilized to determine wild cards into the French Open.
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 ranking points at two of three select USTA Pro Circuit clay-court events will earn wild cards to compete in the French Open main draw.
The men’s events included in the challenge are the $100,000 Challenger in Sarasota, Fla., which will take place the week of April 14; the $50,000 Challenger in Savannah, Ga., which will be held the week of April 21; and the $50,000 Challenger in Tallahassee, Fla., which is scheduled for the week of April 28.
The women’s tournaments consist of the $50,000 event in Dothan, Ala., held the week of April 14; the $50,000 event in Charlottesville, Va., the week of April 21; and the $50,000 event in Indian Harbour Beach, Fla., the week of April 28.
All tournaments will be streamed live here.
Only Americans who did not earn direct entry into Roland Garros are eligible to compete in the challenge. The USTA and the French Tennis Federation have a reciprocal agreement in which wild cards into the 2014 French and US Opens are exchanged.
“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 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 of the world rankings. Last year, Alex Kuznetsov and Shelby Rogers earned the wild cards, with Rogers winning her first-ever Grand Slam singles match in Paris.
Har-Tru Sports, one of the leading providers of clay tennis courts, is in its second year as title sponsor of the challenge after signing a three-year agreement in 2013. To complement this year's challenge, Har-Tru is launching a “Be One with the Clay” video contest, in which tennis fans of all ages can create a video about how their love of tennis has been enhanced by the power of playing and training on clay. 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. For more information, click here.
“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.”
Information on the Har-Tru USTA Pro Circuit Wild Card Challenge will be available at www.USTAHarTruWC.com and www.procircuit.usta.com, and on Twitter through @USTAProCircuit and #USTAHarTruWC.
The 2014 French Open main draw will be held Sunday, May 25, through Sunday, June 8.