USTA Award US Open Wild Card To Two-Time Champion Serena Williams

August 17, 2006 03:20 PM

Other Recipients Include Former Top Ten Player Chanda Rubin and a Talented Group of Young Americans

The USTA announced that two-time US Open champion Serena Williams (Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.), former Top 10 players Chanda Rubin (Lafayette, La.) and Australian Alicia Molik, and a talented group of young Americans consisting of Lauren Albanese (Coral Springs, Fla.), Alexa Glatch (Newport Beach, Calif.), Jessica Kirkland (Miami), Bethanie Mattek (Boca Raton, Fla.) and Ahsha Rolle (Miami), have been awarded women's singles main draw wild card entries into the 2006 US Open Tennis Championships, which will be played August 28 - September 10 at the USTA National Tennis Center in Flushing, N.Y.

The US Open Women's Singles Championship is presented by JPMorgan Chase. Both the men's and women's US Open singles champions will earn $1.2 million with the ability to earn an additional $1 million in bonus prize money (for a total $2.2 million potential payout) based on their performances in the US Open Series. In addition, both US Open singles champions will receive a new Lexus GS 450h automobile.

Williams, 24, a seven-time Grand Slam singles champion, won the US Open in 1999 and 2002, and also reached the final in 2001. Williams held the world No. 1 ranking for 57 weeks in 2002-03, and is currently ranked No. 79. After missing six months with a left knee injury earlier this year, Williams was ranked No. 139 at the US Open entry deadline, with the main draw cutoff at No. 102.

Rubin, 29, the winner of seven WTA Tour singles titles, has been ranked as high as No. 6 in the world. She is currently not ranked, having played a limited schedule the last two years due to a recurring left knee injury which required surgery in 2004. She returned to the WTA Tour in July at Stanford, Calif. Rubin represented the U.S. in Fed Cup five times between 1995-2003, and was a member of the U.S. Olympic tennis team in 1996 & 2004 and the U.S. Pan Am Games team in 1995.

Molik, 25, is currently ranked No. 202 in the world. She reached a career-high No. 8 in February 2005, and won the bronze medal in singles at the 2004 Athens Olympics. Molik's wild card is part of a reciprocal arrangement with Tennis Australia, which will grant a women's singles main draw wild card into the 2007 Australian Open to a player designated by the USTA.

Albanese, 16, earned her wild card by winning the 2006 USTA Girls' 18s National Championship last weekend in San Jose, Calif. She did not lose a set in seven matches en route to her first USTA national title. In July, Albanese had a nine-match winning streak on the USTA Pro Circuit, winning her first pro singles title at a $10,000 event in Wichita, Kan. She is currently ranked No. 644 in the world.

Glatch, 16, was the runner-up in girls' singles and doubles at the 2005 US Open, as well as the runner-up at the 2005 USTA Girls' 18s National Championship. She reached a career-high No. 5 world junior ranking in October, but only played once in the next eight months after breaking her left elbow and right wrist. She returned in June, immediately running off a nine-match winning streak on the USTA Pro Circuit, capturing the title at a $10,000 event in Fort Worth, Texas in the process.

Kirkland, 18, is currently ranked No. 196 in the world. Earlier this year, she reached the singles final at a $50,000 event in Waikoloa, Hawaii, and reached the second round as a qualifier at Indian Wells. Kirkland reached the girls' singles final at the 2004 US Open, and won both the USTA Girls' 18s National Championship and the Orange Bowl International in 2004.

Mattek, 21, is currently ranked No. 108 in the world and is the highest ranked American who did not receive direct entry into the US Open. This year, Mattek twice matched her career-best finish at a WTA Tour event, reaching the quarterfinals at Bogota and Los Angeles, where she defeated world No. 18 Flavia Pennetta and won a set against eventual champion Elena Dementieva.

Rolle, 21, improved her ranking over 200 places since the beginning of 2005. In 2005, she won her first pro title at a $10,000 event in Clearwater, Fla. in January, and then won her second title at a $50,000 event in Troy, Ala. in October. Earlier this month, she qualified at the JPMorgan Chase Open in Los Angeles.

In addition to the eight US Open women's singles main draw wild cards, the USTA also announced the nine women who have been awarded wild card entries into the US Open Qualifying Tournament, which will be held August 22-25 at the USTA National Tennis Center.

Seven of the nine qualifying wild card recipients are age 18 or younger.

Players receiving US Open qualifying wild cards are: Madison Brengle (16, Dover, Del.), Julia Cohen (17, Miami), Yulia Fedossova (18, France), Mary Gambale (17, Billerica, Mass.), Chelsey Gullickson (15, Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.), Jamie Hampton (16, Auburn, Ala.), Alexandra Stevenson (25, La Jolla, Calif.), Neha Uberoi (20, Boca Raton, Fla.), and Ashley Weinhold (17, Austin, Texas).

The 2006 US Open will mark the culmination of the US Open Series, the six-week summer tennis season linking all major ATP and Sony Ericsson WTA Tour tournaments in North America to the US Open. The US Open is the highest attended annual sporting event in the world. More than 87 million viewers watched the 2005 US Open on CBS Sports and USA Network, and international broadcasts reached 184 countries.

The 2006 US Open will be held Monday, August 28 through Sunday, September 10. Tickets for the 2006 US Open can be purchased four ways: 1) at; 2) by calling Ticketmaster at 1-866-OPEN-TIX; 3) at all Ticketmaster outlets; or 4) at the USTA National Tennis Center box office. American Express is the Official Card of the US Open.

The USTA is the national governing body for the sport of tennis in the U.S. and the leader in promoting and developing the growth of tennis at every level -- from local communities to the highest level of the professional game. It owns and operates the US Open, the highest attended annual sporting event in the world, and launched the US Open Series linking 10 summer tournaments to the US Open. In addition, it owns the 94 Pro Circuit events throughout the U.S., and selects the teams for the Davis Cup, Fed Cup, Olympic and Paralympic Games. A not-for-profit organization with 690,000 members, it invests 100% of its proceeds in growing the game. For more information on the USTA, log on to