French Open wildcards for Aussie teens

SYDNEY: Two Australian teenagers have been given wild card spots in the French Open, the nation's tennis authority said Tuesday.

Tennis Australia said 16-year-old Bernard Tomic and 17-year-old Olivia Rogowska had been offered places in the main draw at Roland Garros because they had showed "most promising results" in the past 12 months.

"Tennis Australia is delighted to award French Open wild cards to Bernard and Olivia," said director Craig Tiley.

"Although we have traditionally held a play-off with our players competing to win these wild cards, we decided to focus on long-standing youth policy and award these wild cards to the best performing younger players." Tiley said Tomic, the 2008 Australian Open junior champion, had slashed more than 400 places from his ranking since January to 378th place, when he beat Italy's Potito Starace in the first round of the 2009 Australian Open.

Rogowska was ranked 329th in the world, after moving up more than 600 places last year, said Tiley.

The strength of her ranking had given her direct entry into the French Open Junior Championships, and she was due to compete in a number of clay court events in Italy and France ahead of the May Grand Slam, he said.

"The opportunity to compete at the French Open will be another step in the development of both these promising players and we wish them well," Tiley said.