SYDNEY (Reuters) - Bernard Tomic has been awarded a wild card for the U.S. Open by Tennis Australia after his drop down the world rankings had threatened to send him back to qualifying for the last grand slam tournament of the year.
The 21-year-old, who was U.S. Open junior champion in 2009 and reached the quarter-finals at Wimbledon in 2011, slumped out of the top 100 after surgery on both hips triggered a miserable six months on and off court.
Dumped by his IMG management company, who signed him in his early teens when he was regarded as a future grand slam champion, Tomic also suffered the ignominy of the quickest defeat in ATP Tour history.
After that 28-minute, 6-0 6-1 loss to Finn Jarkko Nieminen at the Miami Masters in March, Tomic rallied and clinched only the second singles title of his career at the Colombian Open last month.
That was enough to send him back up the rankings to world number 70 but came too late to secure an automatic place in the main draw at Flushing Meadows.
"I'm really happy with my tennis at the moment, and to be back in the top 100," Tomic said in a Tennis Australia news release."It's great to have the U.S. Open wild card and I'd like to thank Tennis Australia for the opportunity.
"It means I can now focus on my preparation and be in the best position to make the most of my chances.
"I've had some pretty good results over the last few weeks and I hope I can continue to build on that."
Tomic joins compatriots Lleyton Hewitt, the 2001 U.S. Open champion, Nick Kyrgios, who beat Rafa Nadal on his way to the last eight at Wimbledon this year, Marinko Matosevic, Matt Ebden and Sam Groth in the main draw.
Jarmila Gajdosova also received a wild card for the women's draw under a reciprocal arrangement between Tennis Australia and the United States Tennis Association. The U.S. Open begins on Aug. 25.
(Reporting by Nick Mulvenney, editing by Peter Rutherford)