Olympian Ryan Harrison Receives Newport Wildcard

Ryan Harrison, an exciting young American tennis star currently ranked No. 48 in the world and No. 4 among Americans, has been awarded the final wild card into the player field for the Campbell’s Hall of Fame Tennis Championships. The tournament, which is the only professional tennis tournament played on grass courts in North America, will be hosted July 9 – 15, 2012 at the International Tennis Hall of Fame in Newport, R.I. Last week, Harrison was named to the US Olympic team, along with Newport’s defending champion John Isner, Donald Young, and the doubles team of Bob and Mike Bryan, all of whom will play in Newport. This will be Harrison’s third appearance in Newport, where he won the doubles title last year with Matt Ebden of Australia.

“We first saw Ryan in Newport just two years ago, when he was ranked in the high 200s. It’s been great to see his career take off and his game develop. He has a lot of fans in Newport who will be happy to see him back,” said Tournament Director Mark Stenning. “Ryan’s matches are always exciting to watch, and he’s a fantastic addition to a very strong player field heading to Newport right after Wimbledon and before the Olympics.”

Following a semifinal result at the AEGON International at Eastbourne in June, Harrison cracked the world top-50 just before Wimbledon, and entered the Grand Slam event at world No. 48. He advanced to the second round of Wimbledon, after defeating world No. 56 Yen-Hsun Lu of Taipei. In the second round, he fell to world No. 1 Novak Djokovic. Earlier this season, Harrison was a semifinalist at San Jose, advanced to the Round of 16 at Indian Wells, and he was a quarterfinalist at Houston.

In the two years since Harrison has burst on the scene, he’s become known as an exciting player who is dedicated to growing his game. He has consistently climbed through the rankings, has taken some of the world’s top-ranked players to some intense battles, and he’s represented the United States in Davis Cup competition. In 2010, Harrison was ranked world No. 262 when he was awarded a Newport wild card and he advanced to the tournament’s quarterfinals. In 2011, he returned to the tournament to capture his first ATP World Tour title, when he won the doubles title with Ebden.

Harrison is a strong addition to the Newport player field, and he is sure to add some excitement to the competition. In addition to Isner, Young, and the Bryan Brothers, other players already scheduled to compete include former world No.1 Lleyton Hewitt; Canada’s No. 1 player Milos Raonic, who is ranked world No. 22 and took Roger Federer to an intense match at the recent Gerry Weber Open in Halle, Germany; and Kei Nishikori, a Japanese tennis star, who is ranked world No. 20. The tournament draw will feature 32 singles players, 10 of whom are ranked in the world top-60. Fourteen players in the singles draw are bound for the Olympics after Newport, and two of the 16 doubles teams will compete in the London games as well. The tournament’s other wild cards were awarded to Hewitt and to Jack Sock, a rising American star.

Fun special events top off the tournament action all week. Festivities kick off on Saturday, July 7 and Sunday, July 8 with Family Weekend & Qualifying Rounds, featuring tennis clinics for kids, face-painting, balloon art, museum scavenger hunts, and more! On court, pros will compete for the four remaining spots in the Main Draw. On Monday, July 9 and Tuesday, July 10, the United States Professional Tennis Association will offer free tennis clinics for all ages. Monday, July 9 is also Kids Day, featuring a clinic with an ATP World Tour pro, and Friday, July 13 is Military Appreciation Day, with half-price tickets for active military, reservists, veterans, and their families.

A highlight of the week will be the annual Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony on Saturday, July 14 at 12 p.m. At this grand celebration, the highest honor in tennis will be presented to former world No. 1’s Jennifer Capriati and Guga Kuerten, Spanish tennis star Manuel Orantes, tennis industry innovator Mike Davies, and the late wheelchair tennis champion Randy Snow. On Sunday, July 15 at 10 a.m., new Hall of Famer Guga Kuerten will be back in action with a special Exhibition Match, also featuring tennis greats Todd Martin, Gigi Fernandez, Owen Davidson, and Stan Smith.

For additional information and to order tickets, please call the Tournament Office at 401-849-6053 or visit www.tennisfame.com.

About the Campbell’s Hall of Fame Tennis Championships

The Campbell’s Hall of Fame Tennis Championships, an ATP World Tour event, will be held July 9 – 15, 2012 at the International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum in Newport, Rhode Island. The tournament draws 32 top male players to Newport direct from Wimbledon to compete for the Van Alen Cup and nearly $400,000 in prize money. Hosted on the legendary grass courts of the International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum, the Campbell’s Hall of Fame Tennis Championships is the only ATP World Tour event played on grass in the Americas. In addition to exciting pro tennis, the week features numerous special events ranging from tennis clinics and family activities to the Angela Moore Fashion Show. A highlight of the week will be the Class of 2012 Induction Ceremony on July 14. At this grand celebration, the highest honor in tennis will be presented to former world No. 1’s Jennifer Capriati and Guga Kuerten, Spanish tennis star Manuel Orantes, tennis industry innovator Mike Davies, and wheelchair tennis great Randy Snow, who will be inducted posthumously. For additional information, visit www.tennisfame.com.

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  • Andrew Miller · July 2, 2012 at 9:04 pm

    Dang, Harrison in top 50. That is indeed good progress.

  • Scoop Malinowski · July 3, 2012 at 2:12 am

    Harry is coming along nicely and is on a steady rise up the rankings. I can see him reaching top 25 by the end of the year.

  • Andrew Miller · July 3, 2012 at 3:19 am

    Harrison could be the #3 U.S. player by the end of the year. He’s above .500, which is a good result. No matter what I think about his playing style, I can’t argue – he’s doing better and better. No reason to think that won’t continue.

  • Harold · July 3, 2012 at 6:40 am

    Now that we have seen Harrison on tour for two years, we should all be able to agree, he’s not going to win any majors.
    So, does a guy like Harrison, reassess his goals, and instead of playing for Majors, now starts playing the computer and makes “highest ranking” his goals?
    There are the top 4, and a healthy Delpo, that honestly are playing for major titles, the rest are playing for being ranked 6th, or maybe 5th.If you look at the next level of player, most either have a single glaring weakness,a bad backhand(Tsonga), no second serve, physical(stature, or health)that keep them from winning 7 matches in a row.Guys like Ferrer, Tsonga, Berdych,even Nalby who got to top 5, didnt win any Majors, but they peaked at the highest ranking available to them.Dont see Harrison getting close to the top of the second level, probably peak at 20 or so if he can manipulate the computer with one good run, say indoors in Europe after the Open with the outdoor hards at the beginning of the year and see where he peaks.

    There is no Major winner on the American horizon,2 guys hanging around the top 10, that have never been threats to win, only to maybe reach quarters or semi’s. But thats their place, and its a mighty achievement too. Wonder if they realized theyre in an era with 3 of the top ten of all time, and honestly or modestly changed their goals.

    Then again, if Harrison wasnt American, would 12 words have ever been written about him on this blog?

  • Scoop Malinowski · July 3, 2012 at 12:54 pm

    If you spoke with Harrison or listened to him I think you might have a different opinion about his future. Extremely bright and mature minded person, just exudes an aura of “champion.” I think he’s a young work in progress and will figure things out and will get better and better. I think it’s entirely possible he can develop into a major winner someday. It’s easy to write off young players like after Fed lost to Horna or Djokovic after some of his bad losses before he found his stride. Harrison has a bright future and if he keeps working and learning the ropes on the pro tour I think he will shock you Harold.

  • Andrew Miller · July 3, 2012 at 3:39 pm

    Harold, I would love to say that I can predict the future. But look at my Wimbledon draw picks. I was almost 100 percent wrong about who advanced from the 4th round to the QFinals, both on the ATP and WTA side.

    Almost 100 percent wrong.

    I’ve been watching tennis for 23 years. One would think I have a better knack for prediction. But I don’t.

    So, when it comes to seeing whether Harrison will win a major or not, I have to let the facts, rather than my biases, speak for themselves. My biases says his game is hard on the eyes. They say that watching him play hurts. They say that he doesn’t close out his matches quickly enough. That he doesn’t have sufficient court sense to make the most of his game. That his ground strokes need some serious work. That his strategy, even with what he’s got, needs major work. That he would benefit from reigning in some of that enthusiasm or passion or outburst and put it to use with greater focus during the match.

    But what do the facts say?

    – That he’s top 50 after less than 2 years of exposure to the game’s highest tour levels (referring strictly to the moment he beat Rui Machado at the US Open in the 2010 qualifiers to today)

    – That he’s winning many of the matches he’s supposed to win

    – That he has a well established regimen for training and seems to enjoy practice

    – That he’s already improved his serve and backhand, despite the many other areas of his game that need work. That improvement seems to be becoming part of his regimen, which is a big deal

    – That he seems to know how to “sense” when an opponent is taking the foot off the pedal and then capitalizes on it, or at least recognizes the need to. He hasn’t pulled off the Djokovic or Federer upset, but it feels like he believes that with some adjustments, he can ( again, it’s not me – I think he shouldn’t beat Djokovic or Federer. But to Harrison’s credit, he believes he belongs on the same court)

    – That he gets up for matches against lower ranked opponents with as much enthusiasm as he does when playing the game’s best players (he plays with the same intensity no matter who’s on the other side of the net)

    – That he stands as the polar opposite of players with outstanding talent but no work ethic. That he lets his game do the talking

    For what it’s worth, Harrison has gone about his tennis with a workmanlike attitude and with the belief that he belongs. And based on his attitude and his achievements thus far, I have to think he’s going to have a better record than most U.S. players without the last name “Roddick” and “Isner”. To my great shock, I think Harrison will be in position, maybe even in the next year (from now until the 2013 US Open) to make a slam quarterfinal. Not bad at all if this materializes and I think it will be within reach.

    I used to believe that Harrison was a player that would pave the way for other U.S. players – that his example would invite more effort from younger U.S. players would would then leapfrog him. Now I see I am wrong. Harrison’s paving his way whether I believe he will or not. And his way is an upward arc. And we don’t know where that will lead.

    But he does.

  • Scoop Malinowski · July 3, 2012 at 4:39 pm

    Excellent response Andrew, as usual. Harrison is a very sharp kid, I remember being in the interview room with him three years ago in Delray Beach after he lost a tough match to Gulbis and he sounded like a 10 year veteran, that’s who wise and well spoken he was then as a teenager. Very smart person. Also, he talked and talked about the match and what happened, even BEFORE anyone could ask a question. He just took the conference into his own hands and gave us what we needed, without a question having to be asked. Very very impressive kid and he’s going to go far in pro tennis, regardless of that spinny forehand, serve, court sense questions, temper questions, he will fine tune and find a way. He has a hunger to succeed and learn from inspirations like Roddick etc. Some people just won’t can’t be denied. I feel Harrison is one of those people.

  • Harold · July 3, 2012 at 6:12 pm

    I am a bit older Andrew, and watching tennis for about 44 years, 1968 at Forest Hills was like my first Dead show. Fell in love with watching the game as well as playing, and enjoying what a long strange trip its been.

    My thought is in these 2 full years on the tour, if he was going to be a “major” player, he would have better scalps than Luby, and Troicki(2).

    20 years ago most great ones won their first major by 19, or played finals of majors. Its a much more physical game on the men’s side and you can’t expect guys to mature and win 7 matches before youre 21 or so.

    Hope he does well, have nothing against him personally, just dont see him winning Masters or Majors

  • Scoop Malinowski · July 3, 2012 at 6:45 pm

    Harold right now Harrison does not look like a Masters or Slam winner or even contender. But he is far from a finished product. Like your comments about tennis and the Dead and what a long strange trip it’s been. ) Right now Harrison is like a just ignited brushfire, someday he could become a fire on the mountain )

  • Andrew Miller · July 3, 2012 at 8:15 pm

    Harold I understand your point and agree with you – seeing Harrison (version 2012) win any Slam or Masters right now is “a stretch” and a half.

    And your 44 years as a tennis analyst and fan certainly trumps my 20x

    My only point was that prediction is almost impossible. On the one hand, we can probably all agree that Chela will never win a slam. And it’s true that Harrison’s wins, to date, are more along the lines of a top 40 player (pretty close to his ranking) than a top 30, top 20, or let alone any conceivably higher rank.

    But for a barely turned 20 year old, who has improved year over year (from 79 at end of 2011 to top 50 by mid 2012), I don’t think Harrison’s future is written yet. I do think he’s worth spilling the ink, if anything because his trajectory is better than almost every U.S. player since Roddick, and his example is better than the talented U.S. players with problems.

  • Michael · July 4, 2012 at 6:37 am

    I have to place my chips with Harold.

    However, Harry has a lot of heart. If he can get his emotions under control his fugly strokes and his fight could take him to Spadea heights. Majors. Fughetaboutit.

    And I’m also posting an APB on Jack Sock-puppet and Dennis K. Either guy able to get into Newport ?



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