US Open Adds Wheelchair Tennis After Discrimination Claims
The United States Tennis Association (USTA) has announced this year’s US Open will now include a wheelchair tennis competition, after backlash following their initial decision to drop the event.
The change of heart was announced after USTA received widespread criticism over their lack of communication with wheelchair athletes, with Australian wheelchair tennis star and world number one, Dylan Alcott, immediately expressing his frustrations on social media, labelling the act as “disgusting discrimination”.
Following USTA announcing the re-addition of wheelchair tennis, the two-time US Open wheelchair tennis champion, Alcott, said he was thankful for USTA reviewing their initial decision.
“Big thanks to the @usopen for reversing their decision – now allowing wheelchair players to compete at the 2020 Open,” Alcott said on Twitter.
“And most importantly thanks to you reading this for supporting us and sharing the message – you made this happen.
“The decision of not allowing us to compete, without communication or consideration was bigger than tennis.
“In yrs (sic) gone by decisions would have been made for us and no one would have cared.
“You cannot be treated differently because of your gender, race, religion or disability.
“This is a massive sign of progress for our community, and I appreciate all your help.
“I know there is a lot going on in the world at the moment, and the tournament might not even go ahead, but at least now we have the same rights as our able bodied counterparts – like we deserve,” he said.
USTA said in a statement wheelchair tennis will now be played at the US Open from September 10-13, taking a place in the last four days of the grand slam competition, acknowledging they should have consulted with wheelchair athletes before deciding to cancel their competition.
“[The change came after] multiple virtual meetings with a group of wheelchair athletes and the International Tennis Federation over the last week,” the statement said.
“The 2020 US Open Wheelchair Competition will feature Men’s and Women’s Singles and Doubles and Quad Singles and Doubles, with draw sizes similar to past US Opens.
“Wheelchair athletes will follow the same health and safety procedures as all players participating in the US Open and will be able to access the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center beginning on September 7,” USTA said.
Despite this announcement, there are still mass concerns the 2020 US Open will not go ahead with the continuing COVID-19 pandemic, which is still on the rise across the US.