Fourth-Place Medal

Bode Miller will try to qualify for the U.S. Open

After the Olympics, world champion skier Bode Miller plans on scaling a different kind of mountain: He wants to try and play in the U.S. Open tennis tournament.

The controversial two-time silver medalist said Tuesday that he will play in one of the USTA's new sectional qualifying tournaments this spring in hopes of winning a wild-card spot to the U.S. Open in August. Miller won the 1996 Maine prep title and continues to play recreationally. His family has been a long-time owner of Tamarack Tennis Camp in his home state of New Hampshire.

"Tennis has always been part of my life," Miller said. "The U.S. Open National Playoffs is a great concept and I look forward to playing. It will give me an outlet to focus my competitiveness after the Olympics and World Cup season."

The odds are slim that Miller or any of the 4,096 potential entrants will make it to the main draw of the actual Grand Slam event. The 16 sectionals will consist of a maximum of 256 players. Anyone with a valid USTA membership and $125 can enter, although space is limited. It's expected that a majority of entrants will be junior players, collegians, teaching professionals and recreational players.

The winners of each sectional will advance to a special U.S. Open playoff with the victor of that moving on to the U.S. Open Qualifying Tournament. From there the player would have to beat rising junior stars and professionals who didn't earn a berth in the main tournament (Yanina Wickmayer, who made it to the U.S. Open semifinals last year, had to do that at the Australian Open last week).

In short, don't expect to see Bode squaring off against Roger Federer on the hard courts at Flushing Meadow this summer.

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