Two Hometown Pros Awarded Wild Cards to Western & Southern Open

Jul 24, 2023
JJ Wolf hits a backhand

The Western & Southern Open announced today it is granting main draw wild cards to local pros J.J. Wolf and Peyton Stearns. Both have made tremendous movement up the world rankings in the past year after stellar collegiate careers.

Wolf, ranked 46th, made his debuts at the Australian Open, French Open and Wimbledon this year, reaching the fourth round in Australia. He has proved himself on all three court surfaces this season – he reached the semifinals in Dallas on a hard court with a win over world No. 14 Frances Tiafoe, made the quarterfinals in Houston on clay and the quarterfinals on the grass of Eastbourne. He also reached the third round at the 1000 Masters clay court event in Rome with a win over the world’s No. 15 player Hubert Hurkacz. It was his second success in Italy after reaching his first ATP final in Florence last October. He’s cut his ranking by more than half from this time last year.

“I’m thrilled to be participating, and extremely appreciative to the Western & Southern Open for the opportunity to compete in the main draw of the tournament,” Wolf said. “This event means so much to me as I used to go to this tournament when I was a kid and I can’t wait to be back competing in front of all of my family and fans. Looking forward to seeing everyone out there! 513 forever!!”

Wolf reached his first main draw on the ATP Tour at the 2020 Western & Southern Open after being granted a wild card into the qualifying tournament and winning two rounds. The Cincinnati Country Day graduate played at Ohio State, where he was an All-American and named Big Ten Player of the Year in 2019.

Stearns, 21, grew up five miles from the tournament in Mason. Since turning pro just over a year ago, she has reached a WTA Tour final in Bogota, a quarterfinal in Austin, defeated 2021 US Open finalist Leylah Fernandez in Rabat to reach her third career quarterfinal, made her debuts at the US Open, French Open and Wimbledon, and reached seven finals on the ITF circuit, winning four. She gained her first Grand Slam match wins at the French Open, where she upset 17th seed and 2017 champion Jelena Ostapenko to reach the third round. Ranked 413th a year ago, Stearns is now No. 57 in the world.

“I am super happy and excited to play at the Western & Southern Open and grateful to the tournament for giving me such an opportunity,” said Stearns. “To be playing in front of the best fans just around the corner from my family home, it’s a dream come true. I have so many memories from going to the matches with my parents when I was a little girl and being invited on court for a coin toss with Kim Clijsters, so for now to be able to compete at the very same courts it’s a thrill. I will give my 100% and can’t wait to get started!”

Before turning pro Stearns enjoyed an outstanding collegiate career at the University of Texas. In her two years there, the school won the NCAA team title twice and she became the first woman in the program’s history to win the NCAA singles title.