CINCINNATI (July 24, 2012) - The first men’s wild cards for the 2012 Western & Southern Open have been awarded to Americans Brian Baker, Ryan Harrison and Sam Querrey. Their countrywoman Venus Williams had previously been announced as the first women’s wild card recipient for the August 11-19 tournament at the Lindner Family Tennis Center in Mason.
Baker is enjoying success following a remarkable comeback from five surgeries that kept him from the game for six years. The 2003 French Open junior finalist, Baker underwent left hip surgery in 2005, a sports hernia operation in 2006, and in 2008 underwent Tommy John surgery in addition to operations on both his left and right hips. While rehabilitating, Baker served as an assistant coach at Belmont University in his native Nashville. He returned to pro tennis in 2011, and this season reached his first career final in Nice and the Round of 16 at Wimbledon to reach the Top 75 in the rankings.
Harrison travels back to Wimbledon this week to represent the United States in the 2012 London Olympic Games. The 20-year-old attained a career-high ranking this month after reaching three ATP World Tour semifinals this season – at Newport, Eastbourne and San Jose. Last year he was a two-time semifinalist during the Emirates Airline US Open Series. Earlier this year he played his first Davis Cup ties, and in April was the first US teenager to play a live rubber since Andy Roddick in 2001.
Querrey is a past quarterfinalist at the Western & Southern Open who began 2011 in the Top 20. Early last summer he underwent right elbow surgery, and his comeback from that injury was realized in June when he reached the semifinal at Queen’s Club prior to Wimbledon. This week he is competing at the Emirates Airline US Open Series event in Los Angeles where he is a two-time champion.
The addition of these three wild cards brings the men’s entries to 47 for the 56-player field. Williams is the 38th player named for the 54-player women’s field. Additional wild cards will be announced for both the ATP World Tour and WTA fields, in addition to further players being added to the fields via the qualifying tournaments that will be held August 11-12.
The complete player lists for the Western & Southern Open can be found here.
About the Western & Southern Open
The Western & Southern Open will be held August 11-19, 2012 at the Lindner Family Tennis Center, 20 miles north of Cincinnati in Mason, OH. It is the nation’s oldest professional tennis tournament still held in its original city. The tournament is one of the prestigious ATP Masters 1000 events on the men’s tour and a Premier 5 event for the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) – making it one of only five events in the world outside of the grand slams with events of that caliber occurring during the same week at the same venue. A recent study conducted by the University of Cincinnati concluded that the event generated $62.5 million in economic impact in 2011. The event is seen by more than 59 million people in 160 countries worldwide and is broadcast domestically on Tennis Channel, ESPN2 and CBS. The tournament is also one of the last stops on the Emirates Airline US Open Series prior to the US Open in New York.
Since 1974, the tournament has contributed more than $8.7 million to its beneficiaries: Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, the Barrett Cancer Center and Tennis for City Youth.
About the Emirates Airline US Open Series
Now in its ninth season, the Emirates Airline US Open Series continues to serve as a true regular season of hard court tennis, linking 10 summer tournaments to the US Open. Fans follow the action throughout the summer during national broadcast coverage while players battle for $40 million, including a chance for bonus prize money at the US Open. The Series collectively reached a U.S. television audience of 39 million and drew more than 800,000 on-site fans in 2011. In 2012, Emirates Airline became the title sponsor of the Series, as well as the official airline of the US Open. The Emirates Airline US Open Series is also supported by sponsors American Express, Chase, Citizen Watch Company, Esurance, evian and Gatorade.
Americans Mardy Fish and Serena Williams swept the 2011 Emirates Airline US Open Series men’s and women’s titles. In 2007, Roger Federer collected the biggest paycheck in tennis history – $2.4 million – for winning the US Open and the Emirates Airline US Open Series. In 2005, Kim Clijsters also captured both the US Open and the Series, winning $2.2 million – the largest purse in women’s sports history – and equaled that amount in 2010, winning the US Open and finishing the Emirates Airline US Open Series in second place.