Taylor, Ratzlaff Prepare for Busy Summer
Two of Wichita’s finest tennis players, Nick Taylor and Casey Ratzlaff, recently took on the Kemal Sahin Open in Turkey. Taylor participated in the Quad draw, winning his first round match 6-1, 6-0 before falling in the semifinals to eventual champion and No. 1 seed, Ymanitu Silva. Ratzlaff earned the No. 8 seed, falling to South Korea’s Ho Won Im in the second round.
Taylor noted that adjusting to COVID protocols is still not something that he’s used to.
“I’ve never gone to a tournament where I had to take a test, and if I failed that test I wasn’t going to play,” he said.
Despite the extra logistical issues, the duo made it to Turkey and passed their tests with flying colors. They will stay overseas for the time being and will likely play their next tournament in Israel.
The pair have different goals for their time out of the country. Taylor is looking to become one of just 16 qualifiers for the Paralympic Games, which would be his fifth qualification. Following his Kemal Sahin Open appearance, he moved up one spot, from 17th to 16th in the UNIQLO Quad Tennis Tour Rankings.
“I’ll be fighting for my Paralympic life at these tournaments,” he said.
Ratzlaff, on the other hand, has already qualified for the Paralympic Games and is looking for tune-up opportunities and looking to move into the Top 16 in the Men’s Wheelchair rankings to earn a seeding at the Games. This will be his first time competing in the Paralympics, which will be held in Tokyo beginning August 24.
“I want more than anything to qualify so that I can share the Paralympic experience with (Ratzlaff),” Taylor said.
Taylor feels that both of them have trained all that they can, and all that is left is to go out and leave it all on the line.
“We’ve been training our butts off for a long, long time,” he said. “The tournaments are going to be on clay, which will be a good thing for me.”