Can’t remember as many as 10 potential injury-protected rankings in the singles draws at a Grand Slam, although that needs to be researched.
It’s worth noting, though, that none of these special rankings are attached to a man named Juan Martin del Potro.
In the initial women’s entry list, the cutoff for the 108 automatic main-draw spots earned by ranking is No. 104; the last one in Donna Vekic of Croatia.
The players using special rankings are as follows:
Petra Cetkovska (CZE) (56)
Galina Voskoboeva (KAZ) (64)
Vania King (USA) (73)
Alisa Kleybanova (RUS) (87)
Victoria Duval (USA) (92)
Fifth on the alternates list to get in is Canadian Aleksandra Wozniak, with a protected ranking set at No. 108.
Cetkovska, whose real ranking is No. 130 at the moment, has had a hip issue (among other issues). She was out from the 2014 US Open until she returned at Indian Wells last March.
Voskoboeva, who turns 31 next week, has no ranking at all. A left foot injury has taken her out since Miami in March, 2014.
King (right hip) missed nearly a year, from the 2014 US Open until her return at an ITF in Landisville, PA this past August. She’s currently ranked No. 408.
Kleybanova’s travails are well-documented. After returning from non-Hodgkins’ lymphoma, she fell victim to injuries of the tennis kind. Out from Rome in 2011 until her (premature) return at Miami in 2012, Kleybanova missed another year until her return in May 2013 at a $10,000 in Landisville, Pa, which she won. After losing in the first round of Wimbledon in 2014, she was out again until just a few weeks ago, when she hit a series of $10,000 ITF events in Turkey, winning the first one and getting through to the final of the third one going all the way from the qualifying.
As for Duval (currently ranked No. 663), she is another cancer survivor; she found out she had Hodgkin’s lymphoma during the qualifying at Wimbledon in 2014. Duval also returned at Landisville (seems like a popular comeback place) last August, winning two matches then pulling out. She lost in the qualifying at the US Open, lost a first-round match in Albuquerque at a $75,000 in September, but hasn’t played since.
On the men’s side, where the top 104-ranked men make it, the last one in is Thiemo de Bakker of the Netherlands at No. 99.
Again, five players are in on special protected rankings, most of them a severe long shot to do anything. But first-round prize money is impressive. All of them are over 30.
Tommy Haas (GER) (25)
Julien Benneteau (FRA) (39)
Janko Tipsarevic (SRB), (39)
Brian Baker (USA) (56)
Dmitry Tursunov (RUS) (89)
Haas (currently No. 473) is giving it one more try, at age 37 and after a list of career injuries so long there isn’t enough room on the Internet. He played a fair bit once he returned in Stuttgart in early June; he had tried before, intending to come back at Indian Wells (and even showing up on site), but it just took longer. He lost in the first round in eight of the 11 events he played (in the second round in the other three, often to good players) as he tried to play despite a shoulder that wouldn’t let him hit as he wanted to after having surgery on it (again) in June, 2014.
The 30-year-old Baker is listed as “inactive” on the ATP Tour website, which doesn’t even have a mugshot of him. He will have been out for nearly 2 1/2 years (since the 2013 US Open), when he returns with a special ranking of No. 56 (just off his career best). As it was, Baker missed most of 2013; he tore his lateral meniscus in January, played the Australian Open and didn’t return until August. But he played just five more matches before another prolonged absence.
Frenchman Benneteau (currently at No. 124) has been out since Indian Wells and had surgery on a sports hernia/adductor in June. He had intended to come back in the fall but only returned to the court in a doubles match in the French Interclubs playoffs a couple of weeks ago. He will team up again in doubles with countryman Edouard Roger-Vasselin, who had been playing with Canadian Daniel Nestor in the second half of 2015 while Benneteau was on the shelf.
Tipsarevic, a former top-10 player (currently ranked No. 405), has been trying to come back for a few years now but it’s starting to get a little late in the day. Out since Oct. 2013, Tipsarevic returned at Houston last April and from watching him at both the Rogers Cup and the US Open, he’s not anywhere close to being what he was – definitely moving sluggishly and nowhere near in the kind of shape he used to be in. He lost in the first round of his last five tournaments, the last three against Spaniard, and the last one (against Guillermo Garcia-Lopez) after leading two sets to one.
You could be forgiven for thinking the 32-year-old Tursunov had retired (he currently has no ranking), but no, he’s giving it one more go. Tursunov was out from the 2014 US Open with a foot injury that wouldn’t get right – until he surfaced in the qualifying at the Kremlin Cup in Moscow, in his home country. He lost in the second round, but he and young Russian Andrey Rublev shocked everyone by winning the doubles. He played one singles match at a Challenger in Italy a few weeks later, but that was it.