WHITE PLAINS, October 13, 2017 (Press Release)
The USTA announced on Thursday 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.
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 Mmohand 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 oldAmanda 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.