| By Long Island Tennis Magazine Staff

The men’s and women’s main draw wildcards for the 2010 Sony Ericsson Open have been awarded and feature a combination of young up-and-coming stars as well as several of the world’s most recognizable names. Five slots were handed out on the men’s side, while eight were given on the women’s.

Ryan Harrison, Kei Nishikori, and Mario Ancic join ATP stalwarts Carlos Moya and David Nalbandian, who were announced as main draw wildcard recipients last week, on the men’s side, while the eight women are: Seven-time Grand Slam champion Justine Henin, Anastasia Pivovarova, Arantxa Rus, Jelena Dokic, Michelle Larcher de Brito, Ajla Tomljanovic, Petra Martic, and Heather Watson.

The women’s main draw begins on Tuesday, March 23, while the men’s main draw kicks off the following day on Wednesday, March 24. The qualifying rounds will be held on Monday and Tuesday, March 22 and 23.

Harrison is a promising 17-year-old American who achieved a career-high No. 7 world junior ranking in 2008, when he also reached the semifinals at the Australian Open juniors. That same year, he qualified for his first ATP World Tour tournament in Houston, going on to defeat Pablo Cuevas in the first round of the main draw. This year, prior to his most recent tournament entry at Indian Wells, he had reached the main draw in the last two ATP tournaments he entered, in Memphis and Delray Beach.

Nishikori is another talented young player, evidenced by his selection as the ATP Newcomer of the Year in 2008 after a successful juniors career. That same year, he won his first career ATP title at the age of 18, becoming the youngest player in a decade with a tour victory, and ended the year as the youngest player ranked in the Top 100.

Ancic, a former world number seven-ranked player and three time ATP tour singles champion, enters 2010 looking to regain his elite form. At only 25, Ancic has also won a bronze medal for Croatia in Olympic doubles competition in 2004 and clinched a Davis Cup title for his country with a victory in 2005.

Exciting young talent is also on display in the wildcard choices on the ladies side, beginning with 19-year-old Anastasia Pivovarova. Pivovarova was ranked as high as number two on the junior circuit, and has five ITF titles to her name. This will be her second experience playing in Miami, as she also received a wildcard berth into the 2007 Sony Ericsson Open.

These up-and-coming young stars will be joined several of the world’s most recognizable names including Moya and Nalbandian on the men’s side, and Henin on the ladies side.

Henin is a former world number one-ranked player who has seven grand slams and 41 overall WTA tournament victories to her credit. After a 15-month retirement that began in May, 2008, Henin is back to form and reached the final of this year’s Australian Open, her first major since returning to the court.

Another wildcard honoree looking to regain past form is Jelena Dokic, who had risen to as high as fourth in the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour rankings during her career before stepping away from the game for most of 2005, ’06, and ’07. Dokic brings her five career singles titles to Miami for the second consecutive year as a wildcard participant.

For more information, visit www.sonyericssonopen.com.