Nick Taylor & David Wagner:
Timeless Champions and Friends
Victoria Chiesa | May 14, 2020
For the month of May, USTA.com is celebrating National Mobility Awareness Month by highlighting some of the American players, events, influencers and trailblazers who make wheelchair tennis special. Up next, hear from Nick Taylor and David Wagner on how their early years as rivals on the quad circuit evolved into the two becoming lifelong friends.
Nick Taylor and David Wagner have been the gold standard for American quad wheelchair tennis for the past two decades thanks to a partnership that's not only been built by winning matches on the court, but respect and admiration off of it.
Their introduction, however, might've been anything but.
"The first memory that definitely sticks in my mind was when I had to play him in Birmingham [Alabama, in 2001], and I knew he was coming up... and I was like, 'Eh, alright, whatever,'" Taylor recalled.ADVERTISEMENT
"He's coming up from the beginner division, so this should be a fairly easy morning... and 6-3, 6-3, later, for him, whoops. It wasn't an easy morning. It was for him."
Over the past 19 years, the American duo have redefined dominance. In singles, they've faced each other a staggering 81 times, including in nearly three dozen finals. While Wagner owns 74 wins in their head-to-head, they've etched themselves in history by joining forces as a formidable doubles pair.
Together, the two Americans have won 11 Grand Slam titles in quad doubles, and a record 11 titles at the year-end Masters. Among their 35 titles together, they've also partnered to win three Olympic gold medals at the 2004, 2008 and 2012 Games, and captured a silver in Rio four years ago.
In recent years, the duo have show no signs of slowing down. To start the 2020 season, Taylor and Wagner won Indian Wells together in mid-February before tennis worldwide was put on pause as a result of the global coronavirus pandemic, and will aim for a berth in their fifth Olympic Games in Tokyo next year.
With an air-tight on-court strategy that's been built by contesting thousands of matches, the pair nonetheless believe that the bond they've forged off the court is what will ultimately be their lasting legacy.
"The tennis will come and go, the records will be set to be broken, and will get broken," Wagner said, "but to be able to call this guy up when there's stuff going on, when we need each other... to be able to reach out to each other, it's like having another brother."