The US Open Wheelchair Competition returns in 2013 as the event, now in its seventh year, will be held Sept. 5-8, at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing, N.Y. The athletes are returning to New York after a year’s hiatus due to the 2012 Paralympic Games, which were scheduled during 2012 US Open.
This year’s field will feature 20 of the top wheelchair tennis athletes from around the globe.
The 2013 US Open Wheelchair Competition will feature a Men’s, Women’s and Quad Division, and will include six events: men’s singles, men’s doubles, women’s singles, women’s doubles, quad singles and quad doubles. Wheelchair tennis follows the same rules as able-bodied tennis, except that the ball can bounce twice.
This is the first time that each of the divisions will feature the world’s Top 8-ranked men’s and women’s wheelchair players (according to the July 22 ITF rankings). The Top 4 quad players in the world also will be competing. The total purse for the event will be $150,000, a $30,000 increase in prize money from 2011.
The current rankings** are as follows:
|1. Shingo Kuneida (JPN)
||1. Sabine Ellerbock (GER)
||1. David Wagner (USA)
|2. Stephane Houdet (FRA)
||2. Aniek van Koot (NED)
||2. Andrew Lapthorne (GBR)
|3. Maikel Scheffers (NED)
||3. Jiske Griffioen (NED)
||3. Lucas Sithole (RSA)
|4. Joachim Gerard (BEL)
||4. Marjolein Buis (NED)
||4. Nick Taylor (USA)
|5. Gustavo Fernandez (ARG)
||5. Yui Kamiji (JPN)
|6. Gordon Reid (GBR)
||6. Kgothatso Montjane (RSA)
|7. Ronald Vink (NED)
||7. Lucy Shuker (GBR)
|8. Michael Jeremiasz (FRA)
||8. Jordanne Whiley (GBR)
|**ITF Rankings as of July 22, 2013
This year’s field will look a bit different, with 10 newcomers entered in the tournament. The most notable name not entered is six-time US Open Wheelchair Competition women’s singles champion Esther Vergeer of the Netherlands. Vergeer retired after claiming the gold medal at the Paralympic Games last year in London with a 10-year winning streak. She ended her career with 470 consecutive wins, with her last loss coming in January 2003.
Vergeer’s retirement means that for the first time since the inception of the US Open Wheelchair Competition in 2005, there will be a new women’s champion.
On the men’s side, world No. 1 Shingo Kunieda from Japan will look to extend his reign as the men’s champion for a fifth consecutive time. Kunieda last lost in 2006 in the men’s singles competition. The title was not up for grabs in 2008 and 2012 due to the scheduling of the Paralympic Games.
The United States will be represented in quad singles and doubles by the three-time Paralympic Quad doubles gold medalists David Wagner (Chula Vista, Calif.) and Nick Taylor (Wichita, Kan.). Wagner is the defending US Open quad singles champion and will be looking to win his third consecutive singles title. In doubles, Wagner and Taylor will look to put their names on the doubles trophy for a fifth time and remain the only team ever to win the championship.
The USTA was officially designated by the USOC as the national governing body for the Paralympic sport of wheelchair tennis in June 2002, becoming the first Olympic national governing body to earn this recognition. As the national governing body for wheelchair tennis, the USTA manages wheelchair tennis in the United States, including the development of local programming, the sanctioning of tournaments, overseeing wheelchair rankings, creating and managing a High Performance program for developing elite disabled athletes, and selecting teams to compete internationally for the United States.