Steve Johnson Aiming for Aussie Open
Dec. 9, 2011
USC senior Steve Johnson's cruise around the pro circuit could take the Trojan to the other side of the world. Next week, Johnson -- who has been playing as an amateur in pro tournaments since winning the 2011 NCAA Singles Championship -- will compete in a playoff in Atlanta for the right to a wildcard slot in the main draw of the upcoming Australian Open.
Johnson is one of eight male participants invited to engage in the Kia Motors Australian Open Wild Card Playoff, to be held Dec. 16-18 at the Racquet Club of the South in Atlanta.
The men's field includes local favorite Robby Ginepri (Kennesaw, Ga.), who reached the 2005 US Open semifinals and is the only active American male aside from Andy Roddick to appear in a Grand Slam semifinal; and 2010 US Open boys' champion Jack Sock (Lincoln, Neb.), who also won consecutive titles at the USTA Boys' 18s National Championships in 2010-11.
The men's field also features local product Bobby Reynolds (Acworth, Ga.), the former Vanderbilt standout who won a similar event to earn a wild card into the 2011 US Open; and Denis Kudla (Arlington, Va.), who reached the quarterfinals at the ATP World Tour event in Newport, R.I., in July.
Rounding out the field are four current and former collegiate standouts including: 2011 NCAA men's champion Steve Johnson (Orange, Calif.), who has also helped lead the USC Trojans to three consecutive NCAA team titles; Daniel Kosakowski (Huntington Park, Calif.) who turned professional after his freshman year at UCLA and won his first Tour-level match at the Olympus US Open Series event in Los Angeles; Rhyne Williams (Knoxville, Tenn.), the 2011 NCAA singles runner-up for the University of Tennessee, who turned pro after winning his second professional title in June at the USTA Pro Circuit Futures in Innisbrook, Fla.; and Jesse Levine (Boca Raton, Fla.), a former All-American at the University of Florida who reached the third round at Wimbledon in 2009 and has won four titles in six finals on the ITF Pro Circuit since September.
Seeding for the event will be based on the ATP World Tour and WTA Rankings.
For more information and to follow along, visit www.australianwildcard.com.