Wheelchair competition given US Open lifeline as organisers open talks with role players
US Open organisers have promised to look at ways the wheelchair competitions can take place this year following a barrage of criticism about how their axing from the schedules was handled.
The United States Tennis Association announced on Wednesday that a streamlined version of the US Open would take place behind closed doors from August 31 to September 13, with all wheelchair events among those to be scrubbed.
Paralympic champion Gordon Reid, a four-time winner in the men’s doubles at Flushing Meadows and two-time singles semi-finalist, said he was given no forewarning that this would be the case and found out the news on Twitter.
Massively disappointed to find out on twitter this morning that the @usopen plan on cutting wheelchair tennis from this years tournament. The wheelchair players have had ZERO communication or consultation from either the ITF or the Grand Slam around this decision.
— Gordon Reid (@GordonReid91) June 18, 2020
The International Paralympic Committee was also critical of the decision, with president Andrew Parsons saying the USTA should not be using the coronavirus pandemic as “an excuse to discriminate against a group of players”.
A USTA statement said: “(On Friday) the USTA, in conjunction with ITF wheelchair tennis leadership, conducted a very productive call with the wheelchair athletes who traditionally compete in the US Open wheelchair competition.
“The USTA acknowledged that the association should have communicated directly and worked in a collaborative manner with the wheelchair athletes when developing the plan for the 2020 US Open, as it had done with both the ATP and WTA.
“The USTA also committed to working with the players and the ITF to explore a number of potential scenarios for the wheelchair competition to determine the best approach moving forward for the athletes and the competition.
“The USTA expects to gather player feedback on their perspective and work with with the ITF to finalise an approach to the 2020 US Open wheelchair competition.”
The news could go some way to appeasing the likes of Reid, who said on Friday night: “Positive discussions with @usopen today. They’re looking to make it right with the help of the players.”
Reacting to the initial exclusion, Parsons said on Thursday: “We urge organisers to reconsider this decision which could potentially undo years of great work to promote and showcase the sport of wheelchair tennis.
“We appreciate that the Covid-19 pandemic has thrown up multiple challenges for sport event organisers all around the world, but such challenges should not be used as an excuse to discriminate against a group of players and not offer inclusive competition for all.
“There has been tremendous progress in recent years to advance wheelchair tennis and promote inclusion, not least by USTA and at the US Open.
“However, just as we cannot have a situation where athletes are barred from sporting events on the grounds of race, gender, nationality or sexuality, they should not be stopped from competing because they play in a wheelchair.”
Andy Murray fumes at ‘brutal error’ as Barbora Krejcikova reaches French Open final
Krejcikova clinched her fifth match point to seal a 7-5 4-6 9-7 victory after more than three hours.
British pair battle through to quarter-finals of Viking Open in Nottingham
Johanna Konta and Katie Boulter continued their winning ways as they prepare for Wimbledon.
Exclusive – Greg Rusedski on the future of the tennis press after Naomi Osaka’s French Open pull-out
Naomi Osaka pulled out of the French Open after refusing to speak to the media
Thoughts of Wimbledon return helped Katie Boulter recover from serious injury
The 24-year-old overcame a back problem during lockdown and has been playing at the Viking Open in Nottingham.
Joy for Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova as she books her place in French Open final
The Russian saw off Tamara Zidansek and will play in her first grand slam final.
French Open final place on the line in 58th Rafael Nadal-Novak Djokovic clash
Djokovic defeated Nadal in Paris in 2015 but was well beaten in last year’s final.
Britain’s Joe Salisbury becomes French Open champion in mixed doubles
Salisbury and Krawczyk recovered from a set down to defeat Elena Vesnina and Aslan Karatsev.
Exclusive – Annabel Croft describes Novak Djokovic’s post match reaction as ‘concerning’
Djokovic screamed loudly in a stadium lacking fans and his outburst continued for a sustained period of time.
Rafael Nadal drops first set since 2019 final but eases past Diego Schwartzman
The story of the 11th day of action at the French Open.
Wild scenes in Paris as Novak Djokovic beats Matteo Berrettini amid a spectator revolt
Novak Djokovic battled past Matteo Berrettini in a match that saw spectators ejected from Roland Garros midway through.