Main Draw Wildcards Awarded

MACON, Georgia, (October 17, 2014) Main draw wildcards were awarded on Thursday for the 2014 Tennis Classic of Macon.

Those receiving wildcards are Americans, Jennifer Brady, Lauren Embree, Katerina Stewart and Ellie Halbauer.

Here are the wildcard recipient’s capsules:

Jennifer Brady
Brady completed her freshman year at UCLA last year, where she was a member of the 2014 NCAA championship­ winning team. Earlier this month, she won her first USTA Pro Circuit singles title, at the $25,000 event in Redding, Calif., while also taking the doubles title.  Brady also won two doubles events in 2011.

Lauren Embree
Embree completed her stellar college career in 2013 at the University of Florida by being named the National College Player of the Year. Embree went 26­3 in her final year for the Gators at the No. 1 singles spot, and she compiled a staggering 117­16 singles record during her college career. As a pro in 2013, she won her second USTA Pro Circuit singles title at the $10,000 event in Fort Worth, Texas, and reached the second round at the $50,000 event in Lexington, Ky. She won her second career doubles title at the $25,000 USTA Pro Circuit event in Redding, Calif., this September and reached the singles final of the $25,000 event in Rock, Hill, S.C., this October.

Katerina Stewart
Stewart, was victorious ar the USTA Girls’ 18s National Clay Court championship this past July in Memphis. That capped a 34­match winning streak in junior and pro matches, during which she won three USTA Pro Circuit $10,000 clay court events (Orlando, Fla.; Bethany Beach, Del.; and Charlotte, N.C.). She was awarded a wildcard into qualifying of the US Open and won her first­round qualifying match over Yuliya Beygelizimer, a former Top 100 player. Ellie Halbauer Halbauer, a highly regarded junior player from South Carolina won the USTA Pro Circuit $10,000 event at Hilton Head last fall. Halbauer has played the qualifying draw at the WTA’s Family Circle Cup in Charleston.

A new presenting sponsor in The W.L. Amos Sr. Foundation means the tournament moves up to a 50K event and will take place October 19­26 on the USTA Pro Circuit calendar at Stratford Academy. This is one of the three fall events where U.S. players can earn points for the USTA’s wildcard into the first major of 2015.

Additional 2014 Tennis Classic of Macon facts:

Headlining this year’s Macon 50K field is veteran Mirjana Lucic­Baroni, who defeated Venus Williams to win the WTA event in Quebec City, last month. Americans, Madison Brengle and defending champ Anna Tatishvilli are also scheduled to return to Middle Georgia. Also in the field are three players with Georgia connections in Melanie Oudin, Irina Falconi and Grace Min.

Even Brian Earley, Director of the USTA Pro Circuit is impressed with what could be Macon’s field.

“The USTA Tennis Classic of Macon will feature one of the strongest fields on the USTA Pro Circuit, with at least four women in the top 100 players on the WTA computer. Due in equal parts to its timing (after the WTA season has concluded), geography and the fact that the Americans are playing for a possible spot in the main draw of the Australian Open, we love that the winner in Macon will have earned the title over some of the best players in the world.”

Players will compete in singles and doubles and a 32­woman qualifying event will start on Sunday, October 19.

Hayes says once again the tournament will host a pro am where local tennis players can play against the pros. A “players party” will also be held this year at Twangs, a local restaurant.

Live streaming of the USTA Pro Circuit can be viewed on the USTA Pro Circuit’s website at

Tickets are available, and volunteers will be needed once again. Call Mercer tennis coach and tournament director Eric Hayes at (478) 301­2269.

About the USTA Pro Circuit

With approximately 90 tournaments hosted annually throughout the country and prize money ranging from $10,000 to $100,000, the USTA Pro Circuit is the pathway to the US Open and tour­level competition for aspiring tennis players and a frequent battleground for established professionals. Celebrating its 35th anniversary in 2014, the USTA Pro Circuit provides players with the opportunity to gain professional ranking points, and it has since grown to become the largest developmental tennis circuit in the world, offering nearly $3 million in prize money. Last year, more than 1,000 men and women from more than 70 countries competed in cities nationwide. John Isner, Maria Sharapova, Sam Querrey, Sloane Stephens, Victoria Azarenka and Andy Murray are among today’s top stars who began their careers on the USTA Pro Circuit.

Jaime Kaplan Tennis Center at Stratford Academy

The Jaime Kaplan Tennis Center is the beautiful new tennis facility at Stratford Academy. The SP Design Group and Hulsey McCormick & Wallace, Inc. coordinated the design effort with the USTA and the K­12 school for the concession/restroom/locker building and the eight new playing courts. In 2011, the new facility was awarded the USTA Outstanding Facility Award for an educational institution.

The W.L. Amos Sr. Foundation

The W.L. Amos Sr. Foundation is the presenting sponsor of the tournament

Middle Georgia Tennis Foundation

The mission of the Middle Georgia Tennis Foundation is to raise funds to support tennis
programs, especially youth programs in Middle Georgia.

For more information:
On­site PR contact: Rick Limpert (209) 920­7425 or email:
Twitter: @USTAMacon50K