Former US Open champions Stan Wawrinka and Svetlana Kuznetsova and two-time Grand Slam women’s singles champion Victoria Azarenka headline the list of players who have been awarded wild cards into the 2018 US Open.
Wawrinka was awarded a spot in the 128-player men’s main draw, along with Americans Tim Smyczek, Michael Mmoh and Noah Rubin.
Also receiving a wild cards are French teenager Corentin Moutet and Australian Jason Kubler, both as part of reciprocal agreements with the French Tennis Federation and Tennis Australia, respectively, in addition to USTA US Open Wild Card Challenge winner Bradley Klahn and USTA Boys' 18s National Championship winner Jenson Brooksby.
On the women’s side, 2004 US Open winner Kuznetsova and two-time US Open finalist Azarenka are the highest-profile players to gain wild cards into the main draw.
The Grand Slam singles champions are joined by rising American stars Amanda Anisimova and Claire Liu, USTA US Open Wild Card Challenge winner Asia Muhammad and USTA Girls' 18s National Champion Whitney Osuigwe.
The French Tennis Federation awarded its women’s wild card to Harmony Tan. Tennis Australia is holding a playoff in New Haven, Conn., this week and will announce its wild-card nominee at a later date.
The US Open takes place Aug. 27-Sept. 9 at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing Meadows, N.Y.
2016 US Open champion and former world No. 3 Wawrinka is currently ranked No. 151 in the world, as he continues his return from a knee injury that cost him the second half of 2017 and has seen him far from his best this season.
Of the five American men to be awarded wild cards, former NCAA champion Klahn is currently ranked the highest at No. 102 after jumping 14 places this week and earning enough points over the summer hard-court season to win the Wild Card Challenge.
Smyczek, Mmoh and Rubin are ranked No. 108, No. 133 and No. 139, respectively. Smyczek, who had a career-best result when he reached the third round in New York in 2013, will be playing the main draw for the sixth time in his career, while Mmoh and Rubin will each be making their second US Open main-draw appearances.
Brooksby will make his Grand Slam main-draw debut after defeating Brandon Nakashima to win the Boys' 18s title in Kalamazoo, Mich., last week. A 17-year-old from Sacramento, Calif., Brooksby has been successful at nearly every rung of USTA junior competition, having won the 12s national singles title and finishing runner-up at the 16s level.
Rounding out the men’s wild cards is world No. 109 Kubler and 19-year-old French world No. 112 Moutet, who will be making their US Open debuts and appearing in their third majors of the year.
There’s even more star power joining the main draw on the women’s side.
Kuznetsova, 33, has fought her way up to No. 88 in the rankings after recovering from left wrist surgery, while two-time Australian Open champion Azarenka has risen to No. 87 after taking time off for maternity leave and personal issues. Both are currently ranked high enough to have received direct entry into the main draw had the cut-off deadline been today, but they were ranked below the ranking cut-off of 101 on the July 16 deadline.
The veteran champions will share center stage with the next wave of talented youngsters.
Anisimova, 16, won the girls’ singles title in Flushing Meadows last summer and will make her first main-draw appearance in New York later this month, while Liu won the 2017 Wimbledon girls’ championship and finished runner-up at the junior French Open last year. Eighteen-year-old Liu made her Grand Slam main-draw debut at last year’s US Open and pushed eventual champion Angelique Kerber to three sets in the second round of Wimbledon earlier this year.
Muhammad, meanwhile, claimed her spot atop the Wild Card Challenge standings by winning a USTA Pro Circuit event in Lexington, Ky., in early August and reaching the quarterfinals of an event in Honolulu in July. She is currently ranked No. 218 in singles and will make her second main-draw appearance in New York and her first since 2008.
Osuigwe will also be making her main-draw debut after winning the Girls' 18s title in San Diego. The 16-year-old won the French Open girls' title in 2017 and was the No. 1-ranked junior in the world.
Tan, 20, is currently ranked No. 393 in the world and will be making her Grand Slam main-draw debut. She lost in qualifying at Roland Garros in 2015 and 2017 in her only two major appearances.
The men’s and women’s US Open Qualifying Tournament wild cards were also announced Tuesday.
The nine spots in the men’s qualifying draw were awarded to Kalamazoo finalist Brandon Nakashima, 2017 American Collegiate Invitational winner Tom Fawcett and fellow Americans Donald Young, Chris Eubanks, Ulises Blanch, Martin Redlicki, JC Aragone, Sebastian Korda and Dennis Novikov.
The women’s US Open Qualifying Tournament wild cards were awarded to the following nine Americans: San Diego finalist Kayla Day, Coco Gauff, Caty McNally, Ashley Kratzer, Ann Li, Bethanie Mattek-Sands, Jessica Pegula, Danielle Lao and Gail Brodsky.