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De Minaur awarded wildcard for Roland Garros

Alex De Minaur has been rewarded by Tennis Australia for his impressive progress through the tennis ranks with a wildcard for the French Open.

Melbourne VIC, Australia, 18 May 2017 | tennis.com.au

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Rising star Alex De Minaur (NSW) has been rewarded for his impressive progress through the tennis ranks with a wildcard for the French Open, which gets underway at Stade Roland Garros next week.

De Minaur has joined his fellow Australians Nick Kyrgios (ACT), Bernard Tomic (Qld), Jordan Thompson (NSW), John Millman (Qld) and Thanasi Kokkinakis (SA) (both protected ranking) in the acceptance list for the second Grand Slam of the year.

It will be a second appearance in a Major for De Minaur, who is currently 230th in the ATP Tour Rankings. At the start of the year, the 18 year old made his grand slam debut at Australian Open 2017 after receiving a wild card. In the first round, he beat Gerald Melzer in five sets having saved a match point in the fourth set, before falling to American Sam Querrey in round two.

Born in Sydney and currently residing in Alicante, Spain, De Minaur has long been considered one of Australia’s hottest young prospects after making his name on the junior circuit, where he reached a career-high ranking of second.

“I’m really thankful for this wildcard,” said De Minaur. “It’s going to be an amazing experience which I’m really looking forward to, and I can’t wait to get out there and give it my all.”

De Minaur assumed the role of official ‘orange boy’ during Australia’s Davis Cup victories over the Czech Republic and United States this year, and team captain Lleyton Hewitt has been impressed with what he has seen so far from the talented teenager.

“It’s another great opportunity for Alex to test himself against the best players in the word,” said Hewitt.

“He took full advantage of his wildcard at the Australian Open, and will be looking to build on that at Roland Garros.”

Meanwhile, the women’s wildcard will be decided via a play-off, which will be played from Friday to Sunday and features seven Australians, including rising star Destanee Aiava (Vic).

Aiava, who turned 17 last week, will compete against her compatriots Arina Rodionova (Vic), Lizette Cabrera (Qld), Jaimee Fourlis (Vic), Storm Sanders (Vic), Isabelle Wallace (Vic) and Priscilla Hon (Qld), with the winner claiming a berth in the French Open.

Rodionova (world No.167), Cabrera (175), Aiava (196), Fourlis (337) and Sanders (429) were all direct acceptances, as they were inside the top 400 of the WTA Rankings on the 11 April deadline; while Wallace (world No.402) and Hon (447) were given wildcards by Tennis Australia.

The play-off will be held onsite at Roland Garros and will be a straight knockout, with all matches played over the best of three tiebreak sets. Rodionova, Cabrera, Aiava and Fourlis have all been seeded, with Rodionova receiving a first round bye.

The winner of the play-off will join fellow Australians Sam Stosur (Qld), Daria Gavrilova (Vic) and Ashleigh Barty (Qld) in the main draw of the French Open, which gets underway next Sunday (28 May).

“This is a very strong line-up, and the competition for a place in the French Open will be intense,” said Tennis Australia’s Head of Women’s Tennis and Fed Cup coach, Nicole Pratt.

“All eight girls are extremely capable players, so I’m sure that whoever wins will acquit themselves well at the French Open. It will be a huge benefit for all the girls to play competitive matches on the clay at Roland Garros, and regardless of the outcome the play-off will stand them in good stead not just for the French Open qualifying, but also for the rest of the European swing.”

Original author: Paul Symes
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