U.S. teams named for 2022 BNP Paribas World Team Cup
The red, white and blue will fly proudly next week in Vilamoura, Portugal, where the U.S. will send four teams to compete at the BNP Paribas World Team Cup, the wheelchair tennis counterpart to the Billie Jean King Cup and the Davis Cup.
The flagship international team event in wheelchair tennis has four divisions—men's, women's, quad and junior—and the U.S. will compete in all four from May 2-8 at the Vilamoura Tennis Academy in Vilamoura, Portugal.
Men's: Chris Herman, Jason Keatseangsilp, Casey Ratzlaff, Conner Stroud, Jon Rydberg (coach)
Women's: Shelby Baron, Emmy Kaiser, Dana Mathewson and Paul Walker (coach)
Quad: Bryan Barten, Huayi “Eric” Court, David Wagner and Kevin Heim (coach)
Juniors: Charlie Cooper, Lily Lautenschlager, Tomas Majetic, Maylee Phelps and John Devorss (coach)
Team USA will look to better its overall showing from a year ago, where the women's and quad teams took home hardware; the quad team finished runner-up to the Netherlands, while the U.S. women finished third by beating Great Britain for the bronze. The men's team finished in seventh place last year, while the juniors were named the Team of the Year and finished eighth in their first appearance since 2017.
Three players will don the national colors for the first time in Portugal, as quad team member Court and junior team members Lautenschlager and Majetic will make their World Team Cup debuts.
The 2022 BNP Paribas World Team Cup will see 44 teams from 22 countries competing in four separate divisions: women’s (12 nations), quad (8 nations), men’s (16 nations) and junior (8 nations). All four events start in a round-robin group format before the top nations in each group go forward to the knockout stages to decide the medals and final positions.
Portugal is the 20th nation all-time to host the event; three courts from the event will be live-streamed, with full production on Centre Court, while fans can also follow all the action via live scoring.
Read on to learn more about the American squads:
Chris Herman - For the fourth straight year as a senior and ninth time overall, Gulfport, Fla. native Chris Herman will don the red, while and blue for the men's team. A member of the U.S. junior boys' World Team Cup team from 2012-16, he helped Team USA capture back-to-back championships at the competition in 2015 and 2016, and also won a silver medal in doubles at the 2019 Parapan American Games with teammate Casey Ratzlaff. Representing the University of Florida, he swept the singles and doubles titles at the 2018 USTA Collegiate Wheelchair National Championships.
Jason Keatseangsilp - Tucson, Ariz. native Keatseangsilp returns to the U.S. men's team for the third straight year in 2022. The second-highest ranked American man in the world behind Ratzlaff, he's reached the semifinals or better in five of his last six tournaments on tour, and won the consolation bracket at the ITF 3 Series event in Houston, Texas in March.
Casey Ratzlaff - The top-ranked American man at world No. 23, Ratzlaff is a member of the U.S. team for an eighth time across juniors and seniors. Alongside Herman and Conner Stroud, he was an integral member of the championship-winning junior teams in 2015 and 2016, and recently won his 21st career singles title on the ITF/UNIQLO Wheelchair Tennis Tour in Peru.
Conner Stroud - 21-year-old Stroud from Rutherfordton, N.C. is also in the Top 50 in the world rankings. A former junior world No. 2, Stroud reached the singles and doubles final at the Cougar Open in Houston last month in his 2022 season debut. Across juniors and pros, he's been a member of Team USA each year since 2014.
Jon Rydberg (coach) - Since concluding his playing career, Rydberg has had a successful transition to the coaching ranks; in Portugal, he'll be coaching one of the U.S. World Team Cup teams for the fourth straight year and the men for a third time.
Shelby Baron - The third-highest U.S. woman in the world singles rankings, Baron is back on Team USA for a ninth time overall and seventh time in the women's event. The University of Alabama alumnus shined in college for the Crimson Tide's wheelchair tennis dynasty both as a player and coach, guiding her team to a sixth straight title at the USTA Collegiate Wheelchair National Championships earlier this month.
Emmy Kaiser - After three years away, Kaiser returned to the U.S. World Team Cup team last year and will be making her 14th overall appearance in 2022. The three-time Paralympian helped the U.S. clinch bronze last year with a 6-3, 6-3 win over Great Britain's Cornelia Oosthuizen in the third-place match.
Dana Mathewson - The top-ranked American woman in the world rankings, Mathewson returns for her 10th World Team Cup and seventh straight. The world No. 8 in singles and world No. 5 in doubles has won two titles this year with British partner Lucy Shuker and played in her first Australian Open.
Paul Walker (coach) - Walker has guided a U.S. women's team in all but two World Team Cups since his debut as a men's player-women's coach in 2005.
Bryan Barten - The Tucson, Ariz. native and singles world No. 9 will be representing the U.S. in World Team Cup action for the 15th time since his 2001 debut. He's been a member of five U.S. World Team Cup-winning teams, and was also a key member of last year's runners-up.
David Wagner - The legendary Wagner is back for another turn representing Team USA in 2022, his 20th consecutive year playing World Team Cup. Ranked No. 4 in the world in both quad singles and quad doubles, Wagner captured his 22nd career Grand Slam doubles title at the Australian Open in January, and won back-to-back singles titles in Bolton, Great Britain in February. He and Barten have won 23 doubles titles together on tour as a pair, including one this year.
Huayi “Eric” Court - Court, 18, from Laie, Hawaii will be making his World Team Cup debut in Portugal. The 18-year-old peaked at a career-high ranking of world No. 11 in juniors in March, and played his first tour-level tournament in November at the Alabama Open.
Kevin Heim (coach) - Heim of Lincoln, Neb. will man the quad team at the World Team Cup for the third time (2018, 2021). Last year, he led the quads to a runner-up showing in Sardinia, where the U.S. placed first in its group and were beaten by the Netherlands in the final. It was the team's best finish since winning the 2015 world title.
Charlie Cooper - The world No. 13 in the junior boys' rankings, 14-year-old Cooper returns to the U.S. team after making his debut last year. The La Quinta, Calif. native played in the prestigious Cajun Classic, an ITF Super Series event which boasts the best players in the world, in March, where he won a round and had the opportunity to face world No. 5 and 23-time Grand Slam champion Stephane Houdet in the second round.
Lily Lautenschlager - Eighteen-year-old Lautenschlager from Lincoln, Neb. is currently ranked world No. 10 in juniors, two spots off her career-high of No. 8. She made her international debut last October at the Alabama Open, and recently made history at Lincoln East High School, where she became the first wheelchair tennis player to make her high school's junior varsity able-bodied tennis team.
Tomas Majetic - One of two first-time members on the junior team, Majetic hails from Boulder, Colo. and recently participated in USTA Player and Coach Development's high-performance wheelchair tennis camp at the USTA National Campus.
Maylee Phelps - The third-ranked junior girl in the world, Phelps, of Portland, Ore., returns to the U.S. roster for the second year running alongside Cooper. The 15-year-old has won two events so far in her international career, including one earlier this year in France.
John Devorss (coach) - Devorss returns for his ninth stint as a U.S. World Team Cup coach. 2022 marks his third time coaching the junior team, in addition to 2021 and 2012.
The inaugural BNP Paribas World Team Cup 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. Team USA's best combined result in recent history came in 2003, when the men's, women's and junior teams all reached the final, and the quad team defeated Great Britain, 2-1, to win the title.