Venus Williams receives wild card to play in US Open

Venus Williams is a two-time winner at Flushing Meadows (2000, 2001) and has competed in the event every year since 2006.

Venus Williams in a file photo. (Image Credit: Twitter)

Seven-time Grand Slam champion Venus Williams is the most prominent among eight wild card selections for the women’s singles draw at the 2021 US Open. Williams is a two-time champion in New York, having lifted the trophy in 2000 and 2001. This year will mark her 15th consecutive US Open main draw appearance and 23rd all-time. The former World No. 1, now 41, has not missed a Grand Slam since Wimbledon in 2013.

Former top 10 player and 2017 US Open semifinalist CoCo Vandeweghe, NCAA singles champion Emma Navarro and a quartet of teenagers: Hailey Baptiste, Ashlyn Krueger, Caty McNally and Katie Volynets join Williams as wild card selections. Australian Storm Sanders has been further awarded a reciprocal wild card in agreement with Tennis Australia.

Vandeweghe the other veteran barring Venus Williams

Vandeweghe is the other veteran of the group at 29. She will be playing in New York for the 12th time in her career, dating back to her debut as a 16-year-old wild card in 2008. The former world No. 9 is now ranked No. 160. Vandeweghe has been plagued by foot and hand injuries since the summer of 2018. She recently reached her first WTA singles semifinal in three years on grass in Birmingham. Vandeweghe further picked up her first Grand Slam main-draw victory since 2019 at Wimbledon.

Krueger, the winner of the prestigious Orange Bowl junior tournament and the USTA Girls’ 18s National Championships and Navarro will be making their US Open debuts. Baptiste, McNally and Volynets have combined to play in the US Open main draw just four times previously.

Krueger became the first player since Canadian Bianca Andreescu (2014 and 2015) to capture the 16s and 18s titles in back-to-back seasons at the prestigious Orange Bowl, when she won the latter as a wild card in December. The 6-foot-1 right-hander followed that up by winning the national crown earlier this month. This helped her earn a ticket to the US Open, which will be the Canadian’s first tour-level main draw. Volynets (19), made her own US Open debut in 2019 after winning the girls’ 18s in San Diego, and lost in the first round to eventual champion Andreescu.

McNally, also 19, reached the third round in New York last year for her best-ever Grand Slam result. She had previously stretched Serena Williams to three sets under the lights inside Arthur Ashe Stadium a year prior in her US Open debut.

Roger Federer opts out of US Open

Venus’ addition is a significant one considering the recent withdrawal of Roger Federer, who announced that he will undergo knee surgery and miss the 2021 US Open. The Swiss said he will be out of action for “many months,” though he is holding out hope for a return to the ATP Tour.

Federer reached the quarterfinals at Wimbledon earlier this summer but reaggravated his knee in the process. The surgery will be his third procedure on his right knee in the past 18 months. He first underwent arthroscopic surgery in February of 2020, then had an additional procedure in May of that year.

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