Lleyton Hewitt, James Blake Get U.S. Open Tennis Wild Card Spots

Lleyton Hewitt and James Blake were given wild-card entries to the 2012 U.S. Open, the final Grand Slam of the tennis season.

The tournament will be played Aug. 27 to Sept. 9 at the National Tennis Center in Flushing, New York. The men’s and women’s singles winners will each receive a record $1.9 million.

Former world No. 1 Hewitt, a 31-year-old Australian, missed the U.S. Open for the second time in four years in 2011. The winner of 28 career singles titles including the U.S. Open in 2001 and Wimbledon the following year, Hewitt lost in the fourth round of January’s Australian Open and in the first round at the French Open and Wimbledon.

Blake, 32, of Tampa, Florida, reached the quarterfinals of the 2005 U.S. Open as a wild card, upsetting Rafael Nadal before losing to Andre Agassi in five sets. Blake missed this year’s Australian Open and lost in the first round at the French Open and Wimbledon.

Steve Johnson, the National Collegiate Athletic Association singles champion, was also given a place in the main draw by tournament organizer the U.S. Tennis Association.

While at the University of Southern California, Johnson, 22, was undefeated in singles to claim his second straight NCAA singles title and lead his school to its fourth team title.

Jack Sock, who in 2010 became the first American since Andy Roddick 10 years earlier to win the U.S. Open boys’ title, also got a place, along with Denis Kudla, whom he beat in the final.

To contact the reporter on this story: Nancy Kercheval in Washington at nkercheval@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Sillup at msillup@bloomberg.net

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