Tallahassee - Robby Ginepri found his form just in time.
The former world No. 15 clinched the Har-Tru USTA Pro Circuit Wild Card Challenge on Saturday with a 6-1, 6-4 over James McGee in the Tallahassee Tennis Challenger semifinals.
The win earned him 48 points, which passes Daniel Kosakowski at 42 and grants him a wild card into the main draw of the French Open later this month.
“It feels unbelievable,” a smiling Ginepri said after his semifinal win. “I knew the situation the entire week and every match had more and more build-up and anxiety. Coming out here this morning I was a little tight but had a 6-1 first set which helped, then got down a couple of breaks in the second set but hung around mentally.”
Ginepri’s mental toughness has shone through throughout the week, where he’s played two matches indoors on hard courts because of rain and two outdoors on clay. He’ll play the final of the $50,000 event Saturday afternoon.
It’s the world No. 442’s first trip to the main draw at Roland Garros since 2010, when he made the fourth round before losing to Novak Djokovic. Ginepri made the fourth round in 2008, as well.
“I’m thrilled to go back to Paris, it’s a special place for me,” the 31-year-old said. Then he joked: “I’ve said this in press conferences there, but I think they named RG after me – Robby Ginepri – not Roland Garros.”
This is the third installment of the Har-Tru USTA Pro Circuit Wild Card Challenge. In 2012 it was Brian Baker who won the pass into the French Open and last year Alex Kuznetsov.
“It’s a big accomplishment especially with all of the injuries and ups and downs I’ve had,” said Ginepri, who was a US Open semifinalist in 2005. “Last year and the year before I was contemplating retiring, so if this week didn’t go well I could have pulled the trigger on that as well. This is a good reward and I’m definitely eager to work as hard as I can leading into the French and fight hard.”
More about the Tallahassee Tennis Challenger:
The Tallahassee Tennis Challenger is a $50,000 event on the USTA Pro Circuit, April 26-May 3 at the Forestmeadows Tennis Complex. Players such as Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Mardy Fish, James Blake, John Isner and Ryan Harrison have appeared at the event, which benefits the D. Mark Vogter, M.D., Memorial Endowment for the Neuro-Intensive Care Unit at Tallahassee Memorial HealthCare.
More about the USTA Pro Circuit:
The USTA launched its Pro Circuit 34 years ago to provide players with the opportunity to gain the professional ranking points needed to compete on the major pro tours. It has since grown to become the largest developmental tennis circuit in the world, consisting of approximately 90 tournaments and nearly $3 million in prize money. The expanded schedule gives American players more competitive opportunities in the United States, thus making it easier and more affordable to earn a pro ranking.