INDIAN WELLS, Calif. – Leylah Annie Fernandez’s agent requested a main draw wild card for her into next week’s BNP Paribas Open.
Ask, and you shall receive as Fernandez – and Kim Clijsters, who was awarded one earlier – are the only non-Americans to get passes into the men’s and women’s singles draws.
Fernandez follows in the footsteps of countrywoman Bianca Andreescu, who received a wild card last year – and won the whole thing.
In Andreescu’s case, the situation was a little different.
When the entry deadline for last year’s tournament hit, the Australian Open hadn’t yet been played and Andreescu was still outside the top 100.
But by the time the Indian Wells tournament rolled around, she was around No. 70 in the world. And that would have given her direct entry into the singles. So it seemed more than fair.
The same courtesy was extended to both Félix Auger-Aliassime and Laslo Djere, who made big jumps during the South American clay-court swing.
With Fernandez, who lost in the quarterfinals of the Monterrey WTA Tour event Friday night, after reaching the final the previous week in Acapulco, it’s a reward for a job well done.
As well, it’s a nod to the multitude of Canadian fans (mostly from the western part of the country), who hit the area during the winter and are always present in large numbers to cheer on the Canadians.
She will be inside the top 120 when the new rankings come out on Monday. That would have been enough to get her into the singles qualifying on her own merits (although, at the deadline, she was ranked No. 189 and well out of the running).
But she got the big prize.
Fernandez is about 14 months younger than Andreescu was a year ago, when she won it.
All-American wild card list – mostly
Here are the rest of the wild cards. The qualifying begins on Monday.
Main draw men’s singles
Jack Sock (Still in the singles at the Indian Wells Challenger)
Marcos Giron (Oracle Challenger Series qualifier)
Mitchell Krueger (Oracle Challenger Series qualifier)
Main draw women’s singles
Leylah Annie Fernandez
Shelby Rogers (Rogers would be next in on her protected ranking, if another player withdraws. But now she can save that for another tournament).
Madison Brengle (Oracle Challenger Series qualifier)
Usue Arconada (Oracle Challenger Series qualifier)
Qualifying men’s singles
Govind Nanda (winner of the BNP Paribas Open pre-qualifying tournament)
Carlos Alcaraz (The up-and-coming Spanish teenager who made waves down in South America a few weeks ago).
Qualifying women’s singles
Ashley Kratzer (winner of the BNP Paribas Open pre-qualifying tournament)
Diane Parry (French player)