2009 US Open Wild Card Recipients Include 11 Current and Former Varsity College Players

2009 US Open Men's and Women’s Wild Card Recipients Named
Includes 11 current and former varsity college players

SKILLMAN, N.J. - A talented group of current and former varsity college players including 2009 NCAA Singles Champions: Mallory Cecil (Duke) and Devin Britton (Ole Miss) have been awarded singles main draw wild card entries into the 2009 US Open Tennis Championships. Chase Buchanan (Ohio State), Jesse Levine (Florida) and Rajeev Ram (Illinois) join Cecil and Britton as main draw wild card selections. The 2009 US Open will be played August 31 – September 13 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 $1.6 million with the ability to earn an additional $1 million in bonus prize money (for a total potential payout of $2.6 million) based on their performance in the 2009 Olympus US Open Series. In addition, both US Open singles champions will receive a new 2010 Lexus IS Convertible.

Cecil won the 2009 NCAA singles title as a freshman at Duke University. She also helped lead the Blue Devils to the 2009 NCAA team title and was named the 2009 Campbell/ITA Player of the Year. Cecil won back-to-back USTA Pro Circuit $10,000 titles last June, and last month she reached the quarterfinals of a $50,000 event in Grapevine, Texas.

Britton burst onto the tennis scene by reaching the 2008 US Open boys’ final as a qualifier. After winning the doubles title at the Dunlop Orange Bowl in December, he enrolled at the University of Mississippi, where in May he became the youngest man ever to win the NCAA Division I singles title. Britton then returned to junior competition this summer, sweeping the singles and doubles titles at Roehampton, a Wimbledon warm-up, and then advancing to the semifinals of the Wimbledon juniors. He is currently No. 14 in the ITF World Junior Rankings.

Buchanan earned his wild card into the 2009 US Open main draw by winning the USTA Boys’ 18s National Championships on Sunday. Last year, he won the Easter Bowl singles title and the USTA Boys’ 18s doubles title (earning a wild card into the 2008 US Open men’s doubles main draw with partner Ryan Harrison), and peaked at No. 6 in the ITF World Junior Rankings after reaching the singles quarterfinals and the doubles final at the Dunlop Orange Bowl. Buchanan went 17-7 (11-4 in singles) to help lead the Ohio State Buckeyes to the 2009 NCAA team final as a freshman.

Levine broke into the Top 100 earlier this year and is currently ranked No. 112. He had his best Grand Slam showing at Wimbledon this summer, upsetting 14th-seeded Marat Safin and reaching the third round as a qualifier. In 2008, Levine was a quarterfinalist at Pilot Pen in New Haven, Conn., an Olympus US Open Series event, and reached the second round at both the Australian Open and Wimbledon. He played one year of college tennis, going 24-1 as a freshman at the University of Florida in 2007, earning him the 2007 ITA Rookie of the Year Award.

Ram is currently ranked No. 121. He won his first ATP World Tour title this summer at the Campbell’s Hall of Fame Tennis Championships, in Newport, R.I., after receiving a “lucky loser” spot into the main draw, defeating Sam Querrey in the final and also winning the doubles title. On the USTA Pro Circuit, he has won 20 doubles titles and two singles titles. Ram played one semester at the University of Illinois in 2003 and won the NCAA doubles title.

In addition to the 16 US Open men’s and women’s singles main draw wild cards, the USTA also announced the 18 men and women who have been awarded wild card entries into the US Open Qualifying Tournament, which will be held August 25-28 at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center.

Current and former varsity college players receiving US Open qualifying wild cards are: USTA Girls’ 18s runner-up Lauren Embree (Florida), Irina Falconi (Georgia Tech), Lester Cook (Texas A&M), 2009 USTA Boys’ 18s runner-up Ryan Lipman (Vanderbilt), Blake Strode (Arkansas) and Michael Venus (LSU). Strode was named the recipient of the 2009 ITA Division I Arthur Ashe, Jr. Leadership and Sportsmanship Award and Venus was the 2008 ITA/D’Novo Men’s All-American Singles Champion. Both were also members of the 2009 USTA Summer Collegiate Team.

The 2009 US Open will be held Monday, August 31 through Sunday, September 13. Tickets for the 2009 US Open can be purchased four ways: 1) at usopen.org; 2) by calling Ticketmaster at 1-866­OPEN-TIX; 3) at all Ticketmaster outlets; or 4) at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center box office. American Express is the Official Card of the US Open.

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