Beijing, China - Devin Mullings of the Bahamas, the world number 1,025, was called up as a replacement for the Olympic men's singles tennis on Saturday because there was no time to get any leading player to Beijing.
The little-known Mullings, whose only singles matches this year have been in Davis Cup ties against Venezuala and Paraguay, now gets a chance to rub shoulders with heavyweights like Rafael Nadal, set to become the new world number one, and Roger Federer.
The 21-year-old, the shortest man in the tournament at 168 centimetres, was an easy choice as he was already at the Games as a doubles competitor.
China's Yu Xinyuan, ranked 782 in the world, also got a late call for similar reasons. The two men had the highest singles rankings of those originally due to play only in the doubles.
Mullings and Yu received the call-ups because with just a day to go before the start of the Olympic tournament there was no time to bring in players on the International Tennis Federation's (ITF) alternate list.
The call-ups were forced when Croatians Ivo Karlovic and Ivan Ljubicic withdrew because of injury.
Mullings, who studied at Ohio State University and now lives in the United States, will play Argentine Agustin Calleri in the first round.
Before that he joins fellow Bahamian Mark Knowles on Sunday in a first round doubles match against top seeds Mike and Bob Bryan of the United States.
Read a TennisHead.com article on Munnings from July 17, 2008