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Jarmere Jenkins set for Australian Open Wildcard Playoffs in hometown

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Sixteen American tennis professionals will gather in the Atlanta suburb of Norcross this weekend for a winner-take-all, call it a battle royale for spots in the 2014 Australian Open in Melbourne.

This annual event, held indoors Dec 20-22 at Life Time Athletic at Peachtree Corners will award one male and one female player with the USTA's wildcards in the first major championship of 2014.

The players will come from all over the country, but one of the men's players is also coming home.

NCAA runner-up and former University of Virginia player Jarmere Jenkins is that player and an Atlanta native, but now trains in Boca Raton, Florida. Jenkins is currently No. 341 on the ATP World Tour rankings, but he has been moving up since turning professional.

Jenkins should have no problem with crowd support this weekend as he said many family members and friends are going to come out to watch.

Will it be a big home court advantage?

'Probably not," said Jenkins. "It might've been if it were a college match. But I'm glad to have the support."

Jenkins has played at this facility many times, but all before the recent renovations that were just completed.

"I used to hit up there all the time in the winter," offered up Jenkins.

As far as his game is concerned, Jenkins says he's 100% healthy and he's been training hard in Florida and concentrating on fitness.

Jenkins posted some strong results this fall and he hope that gives him confidence in Norcross.

"I played against a lot of good players (in the fall) and played well," explained the big hitting righty. "But every American has been working hard for this."

Mostly, Jenkins says this experience should be fun.

Should Jenkins win three matches this weekend, he'll be off to Australia.

If he doesn't, all is not lost. Jenkins will stay in Florida and play some Futures and Challenger events in an attempt to raise his ranking even higher.

With this event taking place only a few days before Christmas, expect the tennis and the mood at Life Time in Norcross to be festive.

Jenkins said he wouldn't mind an early Christmas gift in the form of an Australian Open main draw wildcard.

"The would make it a pretty sweet Christmas," laughed Jenkins.

And a great start to his 2014 tennis season.

Denis Kudla and Shelby Rogers are expected to be the top seeds.

Tickets for the Australian Open Wild Card Playoffs, Battle of Georgia exhibition and clinics taking place this weekend can now be purchased at www.australianwildcard.com. Single-day tickets and full-weekend packages available for adults and kids.

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