After an outcry from the players, the United States Tennis Association has restored the wheelchair tennis competition by 2020 Open United States.
By doing Initial plans for the tournament were announced last week, the wheelchair events, mixed doubles and the junior and legend events had been eliminated. Part of the reason for the cut was the need to limit the number of people in the United States. Billie Jean King National Tennis Center to protect participants from the Corona Virus. The US Open is scheduled to begin on August 31, as originally planned, but without spectators and with strict health measures due to the pandemic.
However, many wheelchair users complained that they had not been consulted and disagreed with the decision. They argued that their slot in the second week of the tournament meant that the total number of players on site would already be reduced.
Dylan Alcott, an Australian who is the best-placed quad solo player and a star in his home country, called the decision “Disgusting Discrimination” on Twitter and said he thought he had done enough in his career to earn a place in the tournament.
“But unfortunately I missed the only thing that was important to be able to walk,” he said.
The U.S.T.A. Last week, CEO Mike Dowse and Stacey Allaster, director of the U.S. Open tournament, quickly apologized and offered wheelchair players several options in a series of virtual meetings, including representatives of the International Tennis Federation who oversee the regular team Wheelchair tennis tour.
According to the players, the U.S.T.A. proposed three options: a cash payment to be shared among the player pool, an event to be held later in the year in the United States. National Campus in Orlando, Florida, or a US Open wheelchair tournament with slightly reduced prize money compared to 2019.
The players were asked to inform the United States. their preferences and on Wednesday the U.S.T.A. announced that the wheelchair tournament will take place from September 10th to 13th and wheelchair users will have access to the tennis center on September 7th.
Singles and doubles for men and women are contested along with quadruple singles and doubles, according to the United States. The draw sizes will be similar to those at previous US openings.
“USTA said they made a mistake and misunderstood each other,” said David Wagner, the leading American quad wheelchair user who attended the virtual meetings. “It seemed a fairly sincere apology and was accepted. And we went on. “
Wagner, 46, eight-time Paralympics medalist, was paralyzed after an accident on a California beach in 1995 and plays tennis with his right hand on the racket.
“It was a joint effort by many athletes,” Wagner said of the lobbying that changed the plans of the United States. “It wasn’t just an athlete who preached particularly on his social media. It was a lot of athletes who worked for a common goal. I think we all understood the seriousness of the situation at the US Open this year, but we wanted to better understand the US decision-making process and try to get a better result. “
Alcott thanked the U.S.T.A. and U.S. Open on Twitter on Wednesday and said too he appreciated the help from Andy Murray, Roger Federer and other leading players on the ATP and WTA tours who “lobbied internally to help us get there”.
“The decision not to allow us to compete without communication or consideration was bigger than tennis.” he added. “Decisions would have been made for us in previous years and nobody would have bothered about it. You cannot be treated differently due to your gender, race, religion or disability. “
Wagner said he planned to start in New York if he was satisfied with the public health situation. The U.S.T.A. plans social distancing and frequent tests.
“It is certainly just as worrying as for a powerful ATP or WTA player,” said Wagner of the corona virus. “I’m not sure how much more vulnerable I am, but I think if I play it would probably be the safest place. The US Open has the means to keep it safe.”