U.S. players to compete for spot
in 2018 Australian Open
Sally Milano | October 12, 2017
The new year will kick off on a high note for two American players, who will receive wild cards to compete in the main draw of the 2018 Australian Open in January.
For the fourth straight year, one American man and one American woman will have the chance to earn a wild card into the year’s first Grand Slam by competing in the Australian Open Wild Card Challenge, a series of indoor and outdoor hard-court pro tournaments held on the USTA Pro Circuit and throughout the world. The players who earn the most ATP World Tour and WTA ranking points over the three-week period will receive main-draw wild cards into the 2018 Australian Open.
The women’s challenge is set to kick off the week of Oct. 23 and will conclude the week of Nov. 6, while the men’s challenge will begin the week of Oct. 30 and end the week of Nov. ADVERTISEMENT 13.
Only Americans who do not earn direct entry into the Australian Open are eligible to compete for the wild card. In case of a tie, the player with the best ATP singles ranking on Nov. 14 or the best WTA singles ranking on Nov. 7 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.
This year, for the first time, the men’s challenge will include U.S. player results from both main draw and qualifying play at not only USTA Pro Circuit tournaments but also at other U.S. and international ATP World Tour events at the ATP Challenger-level and above that are played on a hard-court surface.
The women’s challenge will include main-draw results from select $80,000 USTA Pro Circuit hard-court events.
The tournaments that comprise the women’s challenge include:
- Week of Oct. 23: Macon, Ga. $80,000
- Week of Oct. 30: Tyler, Texas $80,000
- Week of Nov. 6: Waco, Texas $80,000
The events in the men’s challenge are:
- 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
All USTA Pro Circuit tournaments will be streamed live on USTA.com.
The USTA first used the 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, rising stars Michael Mmoh and Kayla Day (pictured) earned wild cards into the 2017 Australian Open by winning the 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. Young Americans Sofia Kenin and Tommy Paul claimed US Open wild cards by winning the US Open Wild Card Challenge over the summer. Kenin went on to reach the third round in New York before falling to Maria Sharapova in a night match in Arthur Ashe Stadium.
The Australian Open main draw will be held Jan. 15-28, 2018, in Melbourne, Australia.