USTA Press Release, May 8, 2017
Tennys Sandgren, 25, of Gallatin, Tenn., will make his main draw Grand Slam debut at the 2017 French Open main draw after winning the Roland Garros Wild Card Challenge. Sandgren claimed 135 points in the challenge by winning the $75,000 USTA Pro Circuit Challenger in Savannah, Ga., this past weekend and by reaching the final of the $100,000 Challenger in Sarasota, Fla., two weeks ago.
Sandgren has attempted to qualify for a Grand Slam main draw 12 times. He is on the comeback trail after having hip surgery in 2014 that sidelined him from February until after that year’s US Open. Sandgren is a former University of Tennessee standout who reached the semifinals of the 2011 NCAA Championships. He holds 14 singles and 16 doubles titles on the USTA Pro Circuit and ITF Circuit. His title in Savannah propelled him to a career-best No. 114 in the world after being ranked outside the Top 300 as recently as last year.
USTA Player Development awards a French Open main draw wild card to one American man and one American woman who earn the most ATP World Tour and WTA ranking points in a series of clay-court events this spring. New this year for the men’s wild card challenge, USTA Player Development considered all American results worldwide for the wild card. Therefore, both USTA Pro Circuit tournaments and international ATP Tour and Challenger tournaments on any professional outdoor clay surface (Har-Tru or red) at prize money of $50,000 and above were included. The women’s wild card challenge consisted of results earned at USTA Pro Circuit clay-court events over the past four weeks. The USTA and the French Tennis Federation have a reciprocal agreement in which wild cards into the 2017 French Open and US Open are exchanged.
2016 French Open junior finalist Amanda Anisimova, 15, earned the women’s wild card last week and will become the youngest player to compete in the main draw at Roland Garros since Alize Cornet in 2005. She is also the first player born in 2001 to compete in a Grand Slam main draw. Anisimova, who is currently ranked No. 259 in the world, claimed 118 points in the wild card challenge by reaching back-to-back singles finals at the $80,000 USTA Pro Circuit event in Indian Harbour Beach, Fla., and the $60,000 USTA Pro Circuit event in Dothan, Ala., in the first USTA Pro Circuit events of her young career.
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. In 2013, Alex Kuznetsov and Shelby Rogers earned the wild cards, with Rogers winning her first-ever Grand Slam singles match at the French Open. In 2014, young American Taylor Townsend and veteran Robby Ginepri received the wild cards, with Townsend becoming a top storyline by reaching the Roland Garros third round. In 2015, young Americans Frances Tiafoe and Louisa Chirico secured the wild cards. Last year, Townsend and Bjorn Fratangelo earned the wild cards, with both players winning their first-round matches.