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Samuel, Thomson Earn Wimbledon Wild Card
Men's Tennis  . 

Samuel, Thomson Earn Wimbledon Wild Card

London, U.K. – South Carolina men’s tennis student-athletes Connor Thomson and Toby Samuel have received a Wild Card into the Doubles Main Draw at the 2023 edition of The Championships, Wimbledon referee Gerry Armstrong announced on Wednesday.

Wimbledon grants wild cards to players whose world ranking is not high enough to qualify automatically for The Championships but who are accepted into the main draw at the discretion of the Committee. Wild Cards are usually offered on the basis of past performance at Wimbledon or to increase British interest.

Samuel and Thomson were one of five pairs to earn one of the initial wild cards for 2023 with a total of seven wild card spots available. The duo has only just begun their doubles professional careers after having a stellar 2022-23 collegiate season in which they spent all but one week at the top of the Intercollegiate Tennis Association’s doubles rankings.

The duo played their first match together in September 2022 which led them off to a nine-match win streak that included winning South Carolina’s first ITA All-American doubles title. Achieving the title propelled the duo up to No. 1 in the collegiate rankings where they also made history as the program’s first top-ranked doubles pair.

The pair carried their momentum throughout the season, amassing a 24-6 overall record together. Samuel and Thomson were the No. 1 seed in the NCAA Doubles Championships and ended the season still ranked atop the ITA Rankings.

Since the end of the collegiate season, Samuel and Thomson have made their way onto the ATP Challenger Tour, playing at Surbiton, Nottingham, and Ilkley.

The duo began the summer at the Lexus Surbiton Trophy where they immediately got off to a strong start, taking out the tournament’s No. 2 seed in straight sets. Samuel and Thomson took out the duo of Andre Goransson and Ben McLachlan, both of whom are currently top-100 doubles players. McLachlan has even been ranked as high as inside the world’s top-20.

After advancing to the quarterfinals at Surbiton, the Gamecock duo followed their performance up with another run to the semifinals in Nottingham where they knocked out the No. 4 seed.

Since beginning his pro doubles career in early June unranked, Thomson has now risen to a career-high of No. 648. Samuel, who entered the summer with ATP doubles points thanks to a few deep runs in Futures tournaments, has risen from No. T-1130 at the end of May to a new career-high of No. 533.

Samuel has also been granted a wild card into the men’s qualifying singles. He was one of six men to earn and initial wild card with nine spots available.

The Bournemouth, England, native is currently ranked at a career-high of No. 531 in singles thanks to points picked up from Futures level events. Samuel gained 25 points from a title win at last summer’s M25 Roehampton and gained 15 points each from a pair of titles at the M15 Fayetteville and M15 Winston-Salem in the fall.

Samuel and Thomson both have experience playing Grand Slam level matches, having both competed in the Junior Wimbledon Championships.

Thomson, of Glasgow, Scotland, played in both singles and doubles during the 2018 and 2019 junior slams, making a deep run to the quarterfinals of the 2019 doubles draw.

Samuel was also in the singles and doubles draws of the 2019 junior slam and also made a deep run in the doubles draw, advancing to the semifinals.

The 2023 Championships will begin on Mon., July 3, with men’s doubles starting on Wed., July 5. Draws and detailed event schedules will be released at a later date.

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