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Mathewson, Ratzlaff, Wagner to compete in Australian Open wheelchair event

Victoria Chiesa | January 22, 2023


Three Americans are set to compete in the first wheelchair Grand Slam tournament of 2023. While Top 10 stalwarts Dana Mathewson and David Wagner return to Melbourne Park for their lastest Australian Open effort, Casey Ratzlaff is primed for his tournament debut. 

 

The Australian Open is the first Grand Slam other than the US Open that Ratzlaff has played in his career, and he comes to Melbourne Park at a career-high singles ranking of world No. 15. He opens his tournament against Japan's prodigious 16-year-old talent Tokito Oda, the reigning NEC Wheelchair Singles Masters champion, who just beat him last week at the the Melbourne Wheelchair Open.

 

Teen talent Oda will no doubt have all eyes on him in the aftermath of his top-ranked compatriot, world No. 1 Shingo Kunieda, announcing his retirement Sunday from the sport on the eve of the Australian Open draw

Mathewson returns to the Australian Open women's field for the second year running. Unseeded in singles, she opens against Argentina's Maria Florencia Moreno, and could face either No. 2 seed Yui Kamiji of Japan or her doubles partner, Lucy Shuker of Great Britain, in the second round. Mathewson and Shuker are also unseeded in doubles, and will face Germany's Katharina Kruger and Colombia's Angelica Bernal in Round 1, with No. 1 seeds Diede de Groot and Aniek van Koot possibly looming in Round 2.

 

Wagner is competing in his 16th Australian Open. Unseeded, he opens his singles campaign against his longtime doubles partner Andy Lapthorne of Great Britain. Wagner owns a 48-22 record against Lapthorne in their 70 career quad singles matches, a head-to-head that dates back to 2010. In their last meeting at a Grand Slam, Wagner was a 4-6, 6-1, 6-2 winner at the US Open in August; however, Lapthorne has won six of their last seven Australian Open matches.

Photo by Graham Denholm/Getty Images.

Ratzlaff will partner Aussie Ben Weekes in the men's doubles draw, while Wagner is seeded No. 2 in quad doubles with Lapthorne. The defending Australian Open champions, the pair are reuniting after having played the US Open last summer with different partners. 

 

The Australian Open wheelchair event begins Tuesday at Melbourne Park. 

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