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The Tennis Business Discussion Forum Archive

[tennisbiz] Re: Wild, Wild-Cards

From: Joe Rill <>
Date: Thu 16 May 2002 10:57:14 EDT

Phil Azar asks about Wild Cards. He has a point about wild cards going to
players from the same country as the tournament host. That is intentional
and no one hides it. The term refers to a player who is admitted to the
tournament without being fully qualified (e.g., sufficient points or
ranking). The decision is made by the tournament officials in consultation
with other organizations involved (e.g., ITF, USTA, etc). Even the Olympic
tennis competition had Wild Cards. While there are no published rules, there
are some guidelines that may vary with different Tournaments.

The USTA guidelines for WTA Wild Cards are listed at this web address:

In general, USTA promotes upcoming American players and encourages tournament
officials to award Wild Cards to Americans.

For the smaller tournaments, Wild Cards are offered to upcoming pros who are
new to the computer rankings; to players who had significant collegiate or
junior results (age limitations considered); or to players who have proven
themselves through outstanding results.

For WTA Tour Events and the US Open, they also are offered to players who
will enhance the tournament; players who are returning from an interruption
in their career; or to reward past service to USTA.

Phil criticizes the award system and claims (correctly) that most Wild Cards
get "mince-meated" in the first rounds. But there are notable exceptions
that make for exciting matches. Look at the Masters in Hamburg where Mirnyi
knocked out Sampras, or a very exciting match in the Mercedes Cup where Wild
Card, James Blake got beat by Andre Agassi 7-6 in the second set. How about
last year's Wimbledon, won by Wild Card Ivanisavic. And would Phil deny
entry in last year's Hamlet Cup (a tune-up for the US Open) to Sampras and
Alex Corretja of Spain? I disagree with bringing in players from third world
countries for politically correct reasons. Let's show case our own people
like last year's US Open wild card Alexandra Stevenson. Tennis is still a
sport at your club; but professional tennis is now big business. The
tournament officials are correctly motivated to do what's right for the
success of their tournament.

I admit my comments are biased. For an opposing view, read a well-written
article by Janice Combs, "The Wild Wild Wild Cards" in

Joe Rill

Received on Fri May 17 2002 - 07:41:50 CDT

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