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U.S. contingent, largest of any nation, set to compete in Australia

January 16, 2016 06:02 PM

By E.J. Crawford, USTA.com

The American contingent at the 2016 Australian Open grew by four this weekend, with Taylor Fritz, Nicole Gibbs, Ryan Harrison and Tim Smyczek all qualifying for the main draw of the year’s first Grand Slam.

In total, the U.S. will send 29 players into the Melbourne main draw, which starts on Monday. That is the most of any nation – Spain is second with 19 players – and includes 17 women and 12 men.

The 17 American women set to compete in the main draw are also the most of any nation, well ahead of the second-place Germany (10 women). The 12 U.S. men trails only Spain (15) and France (13).

Click here for more on the draws the U.S. players will face in the 2016 Australian Open

This will mark the Grand Slam main draw debut for Fritz, the 18-year-old Californian who finished 2015 as the No. 1 junior in the world after winning the US Open boys’ singles championship and reaching the French Open boys’ singles final. Fritz (pictured above) has won three Challenger titles since the US Open, raising his ATP ranking from No. 1,149 at the start of 2015 to No. 154 as of Jan. 11.

Gibbs, Harrison and Smyczek are all making return trips to the Australian Open main draw. Gibbs advanced to the second round in 2015, her only prior appearance; Harrison will be making his sixth showing in the Melbourne main draw, having advanced to the second round in 2013; and Smyczek reached the second round in 2013 and 2015, falling in five sets to Rafael Nadal a year ago. In that match, Smyczek awarded Nadal a first serve during a crucial part of the fifth set after a fan yelled out during the Spaniard’s serve, earning plaudits for his sportsmanship.

Here is a look at the Americans competing in the main draw, with seeds, wild cards (WC) and qualifiers (Q) in parentheses:

Serena Williams (1)
Venus Williams (8)
Madison Keys (15)
Sloane Stephens (24)
CoCo Vandeweghe
Madison Brengle
Varvara Lepchenko
Bethanie Mattek-Sands
Christina McHale
Vania King
Irina Falconi
Lauren Davis
Victoria Duval
Alison Riske
Anna Tatishvili
Nicole Gibbs (Q)
Samantha Crawford (WC)

John Isner (10)
Jack Sock (25)
Steve Johnson (31)
Donald Young
Brian Baker
Sam Querrey
Denis Kudla
Rajeev Ram
Taylor Fritz (Q)
Ryan Harrison (Q)
Tim Smyczek (Q)
Noah Rubin (WC)