Bouchard, De Minaur gain wild cards for Indian Wells


Los Angeles (AFP)

Canada's Eugenie Bouchard and Australian Alex de Minaur were given wild card invitations to the ATP Masters and WTA hardcourt tournament at Indian Wells, organizers said Saturday.

Bouchard, ranked 115th in the world, will be playing her first tournament since a New York jury found in her favor in her lawsuit against the US Tennis Association over her locker room fall at the 2015 US Open.

After the jury found the organizing body was largely liable for Bouchard's fall, which left her with a concussion, the two parties reached an undisclosed financial settlement.

Since that accident, the 23-year-old has been unable to replicate the success that saw her rise as high as number five in the world. She has, however, remained a popular figure thanks to a strong social media presence and her appearance in the swimsuit issue of Sports Illustrated magazine.

Organizers of the tournament, which starts next week in the California desert, had already awarded a wild card to former world number one Victoria Azarenka, who missed much of 2017 after the birth of her son.

De Minaur, a 19-year-old ranked 139th in the world, enjoyed a strong start to 2018 reaching the final at Sydney and the semi-finals at Brisbane.

Tournament organizers announced another initiative aimed at encouraging top players to tackle doubles, offering a $1 million bonus prize to any player who captures both singles and doubles titles at the tournament.

The feat has been accomplished six times in tournament history, most recently by Vera Zvonareva in 2009.

Prize money for both the men?s and women?s singles champions at the 2018 event will be $1,340,860.