Tennis-Venus Williams, Thiem handed U.S. Open wildcards


Tennis - Wimbledon - All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, London, Britain - June 30, 2021 Venus Williams of the U.S. in action during her second round match against Tunisia's Ons Jabeur REUTERS/Peter Nicholls/Files

(Reuters) - Former U.S. Open champions Venus Williams and Dominic Thiem were handed wildcard entries into this year's final Grand Slam tournament, the United States Tennis Association (USTA) said on Wednesday.

Other Americans, along with Williams, getting Flushing Meadows wildcards were former Australian Open champion Sofia Kenin, CoCo Vandeweghe, Elizabeth Mandlik, Peyton Stearns and 17-year-old Eleana Yu.

American men gaining direct entry into the main draw via wildcards include Sam Querrey, Emilio Nava, JJ Wolf, Ben Shelton and Learner Tien.

This year's tournament will run from Aug. 29 to Sept. 11.

The 42-year-old Williams, twice champion at Flushing Meadows, returns to the U.S. Open for the first time since 2020. Her sister Serena, the winner of 23 Grand Slam singles titles, could bring the curtain down on her remarkable career in New York.

Serena Williams announced her forthcoming retirement last week in Toronto, saying she was "evolving away from tennis", although she has not specifically said the U.S. Open will be her final tournament.

Coming back from an ankle injury that has sidelined her for much of the season, Kenin, the 2020 Australian Open winner, has seen her world ranking drop from number four to its current 412 and she has not competed at the U.S. Open since 2020.

Austrian Thiem, who rallied from two sets down against Alexander Zverev to win the 2020 U.S. Open, is also returning from a long injury layoff that has seen his world ranking drop to 228.

(Reporting by Steve Keating in Toronto, Editing by Ed Osmond)

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