King of Qualies

JACK BRASINGTON has an excellent record at Grand Slam events. What's that? You've never heard of him? Guess you don't know Jack.

Brasington, 26, has made it through the last five Grand Slam qualifying tournaments he's played — that's 15 match wins in a row — a feat no other ATP player has accomplished. (Every Slam has a qualifying tournament for players ranked too low to receive direct entry into the 128-player main draw.) The streak began at the 2001 U.S. Open. From there, the 6-foot-2 Miami native qualified for the first three majors of 2002 and got a wild card into the U.S. Open's main draw, where he lost in the first round. "While I appreciate getting them, I usually don't like receiving wild cards," Brasington says. "I like to earn my way into the main draw."

This past January, he toughed out three matches to reach the main stage at the Australian Open (losing again in the first round). "I'm very proud of what I've accomplished," says Brasington, who's ranked no. 174. "The players you face in the qualifying are all hungry. Everyone's fighting to get a start."

In Brasington's case, it was a late start. He didn't turn pro until he was 23, in 2000, after spending five years at the University of Texas earning a bachelor's degree in corporate communications. And while he has won just two first-round matches at the Slams, he remains bullish about his game. "I might be a little behind, but I'm catching up," Brasington says.

Dan Markowitz