USTA names Pan Am teams

September 29, 2011

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. — The USTA announced today the three men and two women nominated to represent the United States at the 2011 Pan American Games in Guadalajara, Mexico, October 17-22. Two women ranked among the Top 100 players in the world, Christina McHale and Irina Falconi, who both had their best finish at the US Open this year by reaching the third round, will be joined by Denis Kudla, Nicholas Monroe and Greg Ouellette. Sloane Stephens was also nominated to represent the U.S. but was forced to withdraw due to injury.

All nominations are subject to the approval of the U.S. Olympic Committee.

The players will compete in men’s and women’s singles, men’s and women’s doubles and mixed doubles. USTA National Coaches Tom Gullikson and Dustin Taylor will coach the women’s and men’s teams, respectively.

Falconi, 21, of Atlanta, upset world No. 15 Dominika Cibulkova en route to the third round at the 2011 US Open and achieved a career-high ranking of No. 74 after the event (she is currently No. 79). Earlier this summer, she had her best finish at a WTA event when she reached the semifinals in College Park, Md. She has played in the main draw of all four Grand Slam events, and last year became just the 10th qualifying wild card to reach the main draw at the US Open. Falconi was a two-time All American at Georgia Tech, and was the 2010 Intercollegiate Tennis Association’s National College Player of the Year.

McHale, 19, of Englewood Cliffs, N.J., upset world No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki at the Western & Southern Open, an Olympus US Open Series event in Cincinnati, and beat world No. 9 Marion Bartoli in the second round of the US Open. She became the youngest player in the WTA Top 100 earlier this year after she reached the third round at Indian Wells, and she is currently the second-highest ranked American at No. 51 after reaching a career-high No. 45 following the US Open. McHale, the 2009 USTA Girls’ 18s National Champion, trained full-time at the USTA Training Center-Headquarters in Boca Raton, Fla., for three years and currently trains at the USTA Training Center-East at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center.

Kudla, 19, of Arlington, Va., had his career-best showing on the ATP World Tour in July when he reached the quarterfinals at the grass-court Campbell’s Hall of Fame Championships in Newport, R.I. A standout junior, Kudla reached the boys’ singles final of the 2010 US Open, where he lost to compatriot Jack Sock. He rose to No. 3 in the world junior rankings in 2010 and subsequently moved onto the USTA Pro Circuit, where he won his first professional title at the USTA Pro Circuit Futures in Austin, Texas. Kudla was named a U.S. Davis Cup practice partner for the 2010 first round tie in Serbia, and he is currently No. 303 on the ATP World Tour.

Monroe, 29, of Chapel Hill, N.C., has had a strong USTA Pro Circuit this season, winning his first USTA Pro Circuit title since 2007 at the $15,000 Futures in Brownsville, Texas, and capturing his seventh doubles title. Also this year, he has competed overseas in China, Great Britain, and India, and played in the Wimbledon tune-up event at the Queens Club in London. As a collegian, Monroe was a two-time All-American at the University of North Carolina (2003-04), and reached the quarterfinals of the NCAA Tournament in 2004. He is currently No. 260 on the ATP World Tour.

Ouellette, 25, of Ormond Beach, Fla., had the best season of his career in 2010, winning his first USTA Pro Circuit singles title at the Peoria (Ill.) Futures, and advancing to two additional singles finals. He also reached the singles final at three consecutive Futures events in Venezuela, winning two. This year, Ouellette advanced to the singles semifinals and won the doubles title at the Futures in Brownsville, Texas, and also reached the singles quarterfinals of a Challenger in Canada. Currently ranked No. 280 on the ATP World Tour, Ouellette was a four-time All-American for the University of Florida and peaked at No. 2 in the ITA Division I collegiate rankings during his senior year in 2008.

The Pan Am Games are held every four years in the year immediately prior to the Olympic Games, and tennis has been contested at the Pan American Games since the event’s inception in 1951. Americans who have won the gold medal at the Pan American Games include Althea Gibson (1959), Pam Shriver (1991) and Paul Goldstein (1999), and other Americans who have competed include Arthur Ashe, Patrick McEnroe and Chanda Rubin.