HOUSTON – Janko Tipsarevic will make his return to singles competition on the ATP World Tour at River Oaks after accepting a wild card for next week’s Fayez Sarofim & Co. U.S. Men’s Clay Court Championship.
The tournament has also awarded a qualifying wild card to 2011 champion Ryan Sweeting.
Tipsarevic, who has been ranked as high as No. 8 on the Emirates ATP Rankings, will be playing his first singles match since the end of the 2013 season. He was sidelined with fibromatosis, a benign soft tissue tumor, on his left foot that required two surgeries during 2014.
“I am very excited,” Tipsarevic said. “It’s been a long and painful 17 months and I cannot wait to get my career and life back on track.”
Tipsarevic owns four career titles and has reached the final on seven other occasions. He advanced to the fourth round at the 2013 US Open, but went just 2-6 through the fall, retiring after just three games from the last singles match he’s played – at Valencia in October 2013.
To begin his comeback, Tipsarevic teamed with World No. 1 and fellow Serb Novak Djokovic to play doubles last week at the Miami Open.
Tipsarevic joins a singles field that already boasts 13 players in the Top 50 of the Emirates ATP Rankings.
Sweeting is also returning to action after an extended absence due to injury. Following a pair of Challenger appearances this year, he will be playing qualifying at a Tour-level event for the first time since March 2013.
In 2011, Sweeting won his lone career title at River Oaks, downing Kei Nishikori in the final. He has seen limited action in the past two years while battling a shoulder injury.
Sweeting’s participation will mark the fourth time in the past five years that a past champion has played qualifying. Ivo Karlovic, the 2007 winner, played qualifying in 2011 and 2013, while 2004 champion Tommy Haas played qualifying in 2012.
The opening two rounds of qualifying on Saturday and Sunday, April 4-5, are free for spectators. Main draw play will begin April 6.