Tennis: Coco Gauff receives wild-card entry for US Open's main draw

Gauff laughs while hitting balls into the crowd after defeating Hiroko Kuwata of Japan during qualifying for the Citi Open.
Gauff laughs while hitting balls into the crowd after defeating Hiroko Kuwata of Japan during qualifying for the Citi Open.PHOTO: AFP

NEW YORK (AP) - Coco Gauff will get a chance to try for an encore: The 15-year-old from Florida received a wild-card entry Tuesday (Aug 13) for the US Open's main draw.

It will be Gauff's second Grand Slam tournament. She made a magical run to the fourth round at Wimbledon last month after getting a wild card into the qualifying rounds there.

Ranked just 313th at the time, Gauff became the youngest player to qualify for Wimbledon, upset five-time champion Venus Williams in the first round and wound up losing at the All England Club to eventual title winner Simona Halep.

Gauff is currently No. 140 in the WTA rankings. She initially made a mark at age 13 by becoming the youngest US Open junior finalist in history; she won the French Open junior title at 14.

Age restrictions set up by the women's professional tour limit the number of tournaments someone who is 15 can enter and the number of wild-card invitations she can be offered - and Gauff already has accepted three wild cards elsewhere. But according to the WTA, the US Tennis Association - which runs a Grand Slam tournament, and so is not overseen by the WTA or ATP tours - essentially can choose to ignore the eligibility rule and offer Gauff a wild card.

"I want to thank the USTA for the opportunity to participate in my home slam," Gauff said in a statement e-mailed by her agent.

"I look forward to playing my first main draw at the US Open."

Among the other players receiving wild cards from the USTA on Tuesday for the women's field at Flushing Meadows in New York City were 2011 US Open champion Sam Stosur - an Australian who was granted that country's reciprocal berth - and 17-year-old Caty McNally, an American who won the doubles title with Gauff and reached the singles semi-finals at the Citi Open in Washington this month.

 

Gauff and McNally have said they plan to play doubles together at Flushing Meadows; that event's wild-card entries will be announced later. The pair won the US Open junior doubles trophy together a year ago.

The draw for the US Open is Aug 22, and play in the year's last major tennis tournament begins Aug 26.

Juan Martin del Porto, the 2009 US Open champion, pulled out of the tournament Tuesday because he is still recovering from surgery on his right knee cap. That allowed Denis Kudla, a 26-year-old from Virginia who was the highest-ranked man to miss out on making the field via direct acceptance, to get into the main draw just hours after he was announced as a wild-card recipient.