Hewitt and Barty handed French Open berths
Originally published on: 16/05/12 00:00
Australia’s Lleyton Hewitt and Ashleigh Barty have been awarded wildcards into the main draw of the French Open.
A reciprocal agreement between the French Tennis Federation and Tennis Australia allows the latter to select two players for the tournament, and the body have opted for both youth and experience in awarding their direct entrants.
Hewitt, who has played just two tour events this year, underwent foot surgery in February but has made a rapid recovery and has reportedly been training well on clay.
The two-time Grand-Slam champion reached the quarter-finals at Roland Garros in 2001 and 2004, first losing to Juan Carlos Ferrero and then eventual champion Gaston Gaudio three years later. The 31-year-old Adelaide favourite pulled out of last year’s event hours ahead of his first round match because of an ankle injury. He has fallen to Rafael Nadal in four of his last five visits to Paris, losing to the Spaniard in the fourth round in 2006 and 2007 and in the third round in 2009 and 2010.
Barty, meanwhile, rose to prominence after winning junior Wimbledon last year. The 16-year-old Queenslander also earned a wildcard into her home Grand Slam in Melbourne this January, but fell to Anna Tatishvili in the first round.
"I'm thrilled to compete in the main draw of the French Open for the first time and test my game against the world's best," said the world No.327.
"Thank you to Tennis Australia for believing in me enough to give me this opportunity and I will do my best to make everyone proud."