U.S. Open Expects Coco Gauff In Field Despite Age Restrictions
The U.S. Open plans to extend a wildcard to 15-year-old Coco Gauff "into the main draw" in this year's event, in the process "ignoring the WTA's age-eligibility rules," according to Marc Berman of the N.Y. POST. The WTA rules state that a player "can accept a maximum of three wildcards during her age-15 year." Those rules are "adopted into USTA bylaws." Gauff already has accepted wildcards to the Miami Open and the qualifiers to the French Open and Wimbledon, where she unexpectedly advanced to the round of 16. USTA Managing Dir of Corporate Communications Chris Widmaier believes the U.S. Open will be "exempt" from the WTA limits. Gauff is currently ranked No. 141 in the world, which "makes her eligible for the Open qualifiers without needing a wildcard." Meanwhile, the WTA is "expected to count Grand Slam events ... toward the total number of professional tournaments allowed for a 15-year-old." Gauff is limited to 10 pro events "from the time of her 15th birthday to her 16th birthday." She has "already played seven pro tournaments since her birthday on March 13, but has received a merit bonus of two extra events" (N.Y. POST, 7/18). In DC, Ava Wallace reports Gauff "will appear" at the Citi Open later this month, though it is "not yet clear ... whether she will play competitively." Gauff must "wait and see if she gets a spot in the Citi Open qualifying tournament" (WASHINGTON POST, 7/19).
SHOW ME THE MONEY: The AP reported the total purse at this year's U.S. Open will be the "richest in tennis history" at more than $57M. The men's and women's singles winner each will earn $3.85M, while both the men's and women's doubles teams will collect $740,000. Those figures represent the "highest payouts in U.S. Open history." Additionally, the payouts for each round, which start at $58,000, are "all Grand Slam tournament records" (AP, 7/18).