The USTA today announced that a talented group of young Americans
consisting of John Isner (Greensboro, N.C.), Alex Kuznetsov (Tampa,
Fla.), Jesse Levine (Boca Raton, Fla.), Wayne Odesnik (Weston, Fla.),
Ryan Sweeting (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.), Donald Young (Atlanta) and 2007
USTA Boys’ 18s champion Michael McClune (Irvine, Calif.) as well as
Australian Alun Jones, have been awarded men’s singles main draw wild
card entries into the 2007 US Open Tennis Championships, which will be
played August 27 – September 9 at the USTA Billie Jean King National
Tennis Center in Flushing, N.Y.
Both the men’s and women’s US Open singles champions will earn $1.4
million with the ability to earn an additional $1 million in bonus prize
money (for a total $2.4 million potential payout) based on their
performance in the US Open Series. In addition, both US Open singles
champions will receive a new Lexus automobile.
Isner, 22, is currently ranked No. 192 in the world. Two weeks ago at
the Legg Mason Classic in Washington, D.C., his second career tour-level
appearance, Isner notched wins over Tim Henman and Tommy Haas en route
to the final where he lost to Andy Roddick. Isner set new ATP records by
winning five straight matches in a third-set tiebreak and serving 144
aces throughout the week, the highest total in a non-Grand Slam event
since the tour started keeping stats in 1991. He turned professional in
May after leading the University of Georgia to the NCAA team title and
ending his four-year collegiate career by reaching the final of the NCAA
Jones, 27, earned his wild card through a reciprocal arrangement with
Tennis Australia, which will grant a men’s singles main draw wild card
into the 2008 Australian Open to a player designated by the USTA. He is
currently ranked a career-high No. 123 in the world. The South-African
born Aussie played the role of Tom Cavendish in the movie “Wimbledon”
opposite Kirsten Dunst.
Kuznetsov, 20, is currently ranked No. 182 in the world. He qualified
for the Australian Open in January where he reached the second round
before losing to James Blake. He improved nearly 300 places in the
rankings in 2006 through strong play on the USTA Pro Circuit after
suffering a broken leg in a car accident in May 2005. He was the 2004
French Open boys’ singles runner-up.
Levine, 19, is currently ranked No. 483 in the world. Levine just
finished his freshman season at the University of Florida with a 24-1
record and ranked No. 3 in the country. He earned All-American honors in
singles and doubles and was named the Intercollegiate Tennis Association
National Rookie of the Year. At the tour level, Levine qualified for
Delray Beach in January (winning two matches) and Newport in July.
McClune, 17, earned his wild card by winning the title at the 2007 USTA
Boys’ 18s National Championship last weekend in Kalamazoo, Mich., less
than two weeks before his 18th birthday. He was a finalist at the
Mansfield (Texas) Futures last October, and recently attempted to
qualify at the US Open Series event in Los Angeles. He is currently
ranked No. 615 in the world.
Odesnik, 21, is currently ranked a career-high No. 153 in the world. He
qualified for two US Open Series events thus far this summer, reaching
the third round in Washington, D.C., and the second round at Montreal
last week. The South African born American has won seven career Futures
titles in 14 final appearances. He improved his year-end ranking for the
fifth consecutive year in 2006.
Sweeting, 20, is currently ranked No. 250. He reached a career-high
ranking of No. 230 in July after reaching the quarterfinals at three of
the four USTA Pro Circuit Challengers he entered. The 2005 US Open boys’
singles champion became a U.S. citizen in 2006 (from Bahamas). He has
served as a practice partner for the U.S. Davis Cup team in the 2006
World Group Semifinal against Russia in Moscow and 2007 first round at
the Czech Republic.
Young, 18, is currently ranked No. 232 in the world. The 2007 Wimbledon
boys’ champion won his first professional singles title at the Little
Rock (Arkansas) Futures in April as a wild card and his first Challenger
title at Aptos, Calif., in June – he is currently second in prize money
earnings on the USTA Pro Circuit this season. He finished 2005 as the
world's No. 1 ranked junior, the youngest ever to accomplish that feat
at 16 years, 5 months. Young earned wild cards at the US Open in 2005
and 2006 as the USTA Boys’ 18s champion.
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