USTA Press Release, October 9, 2021
The Australian Open Wild Card Challenge, which utilizes hard-court professional tournaments to award an American man and woman a main draw wild card into the Australian Open, is returning this fall and will begin next week. The USTA and Tennis Australia have a reciprocal agreement in which main draw wild cards for the 2022 Australian Open and US Open will be exchanged.
Both the men’s and women’s wild cards will be awarded to the Americans with the most ranking points earned at a maximum of three indoor and outdoor hard court tournaments during a four-week window. All indoor and outdoor hard-court events at the 25 level and above, including WTA and ATP Tour events, will be included in the Challenge.
The Women’s Challenge begins next week and runs through the week of November 1.
The Men’s Challenge begins the week of October 25 and runs through the week of November 15.
Americans who otherwise earn direct entry into the Australian Open are not eligible, nor are players ranked in the ATP or WTA Top 50 at the start of the Challenge. Should the player with the highest number of Challenge points earn direct entry into the Australian Open, the wild card will go to the next eligible American in the Challenge points standings. In the event of a tie, the player with the best ATP or best WTA singles ranking on November 8 for the women and November 22 for the men will earn the wild card.
Both wild card recipients will have to follow all Australian Open protocols as it relates to quarantine or vaccination.
The USTA has utilized this Challenge format to award wild cards into the Australian, French and US Opens. This is the first Challenge to be contested since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.
Previous Americans to earn wild cards into the Australian Open (year specified is the year of the tournament):
2021: Not held
2020: Marcos Giron (1R); CoCo Vandweghe (1R)
2019: Jack Sock (1R); Whitney Osuigwe (1R)
2018: Tim Smyczek (2R); Kristie Ahn (1R)
2017: Michael Mmoh (1R); Kayla Day (1R)
2016: Noah Rubin (2R); Samantha Crawford (1R)
2015: Denis Kudla (1R); Irina Falconi (2R)
2014: Steve Johnson (1R); Sachia Vickery (1R)
2013: Rhyne Williams (1R); Madison Keys (3R)
2012: Jesse Levine (1R); Madison Keys (1R)
2011: Ryan Harrison (1R); Lauren Davis (1R)
2010: Ryan Harrison (1R); CoCo Vandeweghe (1R)
2009: John Isner (1R); Christina McHale (1R)
2008: Jesse Levine (2R); Madison Brengle (1R)
2007: Madison Brengle (1R); No men’s wild card competition.