US Open may have wheelchair event as organisers reconsider decision

The USTA said, on Friday, that it will work closely with the wheelchair athletes and stage the event

Ten-time major winner Dylan Alcott

Wheelchair tennis was one of the casualties as the USTA announced that the 2020 US Open would be held from August 31 to September 13.

With the Covid-19 pandemic forcing US Open behind closed doors and to be played with a multitude of restrictions and measures, the organisers had said that the qualifying event, mixed doubles, juniors and wheelchair events would not be included in this edition of the hard-court Grand Slam.

The USTA faced a lot of backlash for its decision, led by ten-time quad singles Grand Slam winner Dylan Alcott.

“Just got announced that the US Open will go ahead WITHOUT wheelchair tennis…” the Australian wrote on Twitter.

“Players weren’t consulted. I thought I did enough to qualify – 2x champion, number 1 in the world. But unfortunately I missed the only thing that mattered, being able to walk. Disgusting discrimination.”

USTA backtracks

The USTA backtracked on Friday, saying it will work closely with the wheelchair athletes and stage the event.

“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 said in a statement.

“The USTA also committed to working with the players and the ITF [International Tennis Federation] 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 the ITF to finalize an approach to the 2020 US Open Wheelchair Competition.”

The US Open will be the first major to be held since the tennis tours were suspended in March due to the pandemic.