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Team USA takes to the Netherlands for the 2014 World Team Cup competition, where quad singles world No. 1 David Wagner (far left) and teammates will look for a second consecutive crown.
By Nicholas J. Walz, USTA.com
Twelve of the United States’ top wheelchair tennis players will compete at the 2014 BNP Paribas World Team Cup against competition from around the globe, May 26-June 1, at the Nieuwe Sloot Tennis Centre in Alphen, Netherlands.
The World Team Cup is the International Tennis Federation’s flagship wheelchair tennis event, often referred to as the Davis Cup and Fed Cup of wheelchair tennis. The inaugural WTC was held in California in 1985, involving six men’s teams. The women’s competition began the following year, with quad and junior events introduced in 1998 and 2000, respectively.
In all, 52 teams from 31 different countries will participate in this year’s WTC. Teams will compete in the men’s World Group (12 nations), men’s World Group 2 (12 nations), women’s World Group (12 nations), quad event (eight teams) and junior event (eight teams). The men’s and women’s divisions will compete on clay courts and the quad and junior divisions will compete on indoor carpet.
“Taking these 12 players overseas to the World Team Cup, you couldn’t ask for better ambassadors for this country and our sport,” said Dan James, Team USA Head Coach. “What impresses me is that there is a ton of high-character players on the squad for 2014 – the David Wagners, the Jon Rydbergs and Kaitlyn Verfuerths. They’ve been here several times and all know what it takes to win, and in turn are actively helping a new wave of players as they learn how to be champions.”
Representing the United States at the 2014 BNP Paribas World Team Cup will be:
Men's Team Quad Team
Dan James - Head Coach John Devorss - Coach
Anthony Anderson - Snohomish, Wash. Greg Hasterok - San Diego
Jon Rydberg - Woodbury, Minn. Nick Taylor - Wichita, Kan.
Stephen Welch - Southlake, Texas David Wagner - Hillsboro, Ore.
Women's Team Junior Team
Paul Walker - Coach Karin Korb - Coach
Shelby Baron - Honolulu Chris Herman - Gulfport, Fla.
Emmy Kaiser - Fort Mitchell, Ky. Casey Ratzlaff - Wichita, Kan.
Kaitlyn Verfuerth - Flagstaff, Ariz. Conner Stroud - Spindale, N.C.
The United States quad team will look to defend the quad title it captured at the 2013 WTC, held in Antalya, Turkey. The team will be led by three-time Paralympic doubles gold medalists David Wagner and Nick Taylor, as well as Greg Hasterok. All three return from last year’s championship squad. In fact, the U.S. has won the quad division in six of the past 10 years.
Also with a fighting chance at a crown will be the U.S. juniors, who finished second at the 2012 WTC and are led by 16-year-old ace Chris Herman. The Floridian will be playing in his third WTC and entered the Top 10 of the ITF Wheelchair boys’ singles rankings for the first time in April.
At the 2013 WTC, the juniors finished in fifth place, the women in ninth place and the men in 11th.
The American contingent for 2014 will include two rookies, who have an age difference of 34 years. Junior player Conner Stroud, 14, whose inspirational story of playing tennis without legs recently was featured in a Tennis Channel documentary, will be making his World Team Cup debut. Anthony Anderson, 48, coaches tennis and works full time as an mechanical engineer, designing the interior cabins of commercial airplanes. The Washington native will join WTC veterans Jon Rydberg and Steve Welch after nearly 30 years competing in the sport.
Favorites in the 2014 WTC include France, Great Britain, Israel, Japan and, most prominently, the host country. The Dutch women have finished first each year since 2000, and overall the Netherlands has claimed 40 titles in the four divisions of play since 1986. The next closest nation in terms of titles is the U.S., with 19 in WTC play.
Follow USTA.com each day for updates from Alphen, plus features, photo galleries and more.
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In 1998, the USTA assumed responsibility for wheelchair tennis in America from the National Foundation for Wheelchair Tennis. Since then, the USTA has become the first National Governing Body of both Olympic and Paralympic tennis, governing Paralympics, ParaPan American Games and World Team Cup events.
The USTA remains dedicated to providing top-flight programming and developmental opportunities to wheelchair athletes of all ages and backgrounds willing to learn the sport and have fun.
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