Har-Tru sponsors Roland Garros wild card challenge

March 18, 2013

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. — The USTA announced today that Har-Tru Sports has signed a three-year agreement to become the title sponsor of the 2013 USTA Pro Circuit Wild Card Challenge. Har-Tru becomes the first title sponsor of the event, which utilizes the USTA Pro Circuit to award wild cards into the French Open to one American man and one American woman.

In the newly named Har-Tru USTA Pro Circuit Wild Card Challenge, the American man and American woman who earn the most ATP World Tour and WTA tour ranking points at two of three select USTA Pro Circuit clay-court events (see schedule below) earn the designated main draw wild cards into the French Open. Only Americans who did not otherwise earn direct entry into the French Open are eligible. The USTA and the French Tennis Federation have a reciprocal agreement in which wild cards into the 2013 French and US Opens are exchanged.

“We are incredibly excited to be able to sponsor the USTA Pro Circuit,” said Pat Hanssen, General Manager of Har-Tru Sports. “It’s a great opportunity to support the governing body of our sport, the USTA, and its efforts to promote and develop the growth of tennis in the U.S. The fact that we can help the USTA leverage their efforts to drive more high level training and competition on clay, and indeed support the method for these players to gain wild card entry into Roland Garros, lines up perfectly with our commitment to developing champions.”

“The USTA Pro Circuit has long been devoted to developing American world-class players, and now we have a world-class partner in that endeavor in Har-Tru,” said Brian Earley, Director of the USTA Pro Circuit. “Learning to play on clay is an important part of developing the all-around player in tennis today, and Har-Tru is a top-notch, innovative company that has served the needs of American clay-court tennis for generations. We are thrilled to have them sponsor the Har-Tru USTA Pro Circuit Wild Card Challenge to give American players the equal chance to compete in the French Open—the world’s most prestigious clay-court tournament.”

The Har-Tru USTA Pro Circuit Wild Card Challenge will consist of the following events:

USTA Pro Circuit Women’s Events

USTA Pro Circuit Men’s Events

The USTA first used this format for its 2012 French Open wild cards, won by Melanie Oudin and Brian Baker. Oudin and Baker each advanced to the second round at last year’s French Open and subsequently broke into the Top 100. In addition, Oudin went on to win her first WTA title at the Wimbledon tune-up in Birmingham, England, and Baker followed up his clay-court run on the USTA Pro Circuit by reaching his first ATP Tour final at the French Open tune-up event in Nice, France, as a qualifier, and advancing to the fourth round of Wimbledon and the second round of the US Open.

The USTA used a similar format to grant a men’s and women’s main draw wild card into the 2012 US Open. Steve Johnson and Mallory Burdette both won those wild cards and subsequently each reached the third round of the US Open.

The 2013 French Open main draw will be held Sunday, May 26, to Sunday, June 9.

Information on the Har-Tru USTA Pro Circuit Wild Card Challenge will be available on Twitter through #USTAHarTruWC.

Har-Tru Sports is based in Charlottesville, Va., and is the leading provider of clay courts, lighting and court accessories in the tennis industry. With a focus on developing champions worldwide, Har-Tru Sports, one of the business divisions operated by Luck Companies, is best known for its Har-Tru brand of clay courts and uses its products, knowledge, advocacy and passion to further the development of tennis champions around the world. The company’s global expansion now includes courts in Australia and China and a focus on innovative green technology to provide world-class products. For more information visit Har-Tru.

With approximately 90 tournaments hosted annually throughout the country and prize money ranging from $10,000 to $100,000, the USTA Pro Circuit is the pathway to the US Open and tour-level competition for aspiring tennis players and a frequent battleground for established professionals. The USTA launched its Pro Circuit 34 years ago to provide players with the opportunity to gain professional ranking points, and it has since grown to become the largest developmental tennis circuit in the world, offering nearly $3 million in prize money. Last year, more than 1,000 men and women from more than 70 countries competed in cities nationwide. Mardy Fish, Maria Sharapova, John Isner, Caroline Wozniacki, Sam Querrey, Li Na, and Andy Murray are among today’s top stars who began their careers on the USTA Pro Circuit.