Americans at the 2019 Masters
Victoria Chiesa | November 18, 2019
The world’s best wheelchair tennis players will descend on the USTA National Campus in Orlando, Fla., next week, and a trio of Americans will cap off successful 2019 seasons on the ITF Wheelchair Tennis Tour on home soil.
The NEC Wheelchair Tennis Masters and UNIQLO Wheelchair Doubles Masters will be held from Nov. 19-26, and a total of five Americans will represent the red, white and blue in the events in Orlando.
David Wagner, Nick Taylor and Dana Mathewson qualified by ranking, while rising youngsters Chris Herman and Conner Stroud were a late addition to the men's wheelchair doubles draw following the withdrawal of the Japanese team of Shingo Kunieda and Takashi Sanada, who were projected as the No. 4 seeds.
Wagner will represent the U.S. in the quad singles and doubles draws, partnering Taylor, while Mathewson will take part in the women's doubles event alongside Marjolein Buis of the Netherlands.ADVERTISEMENT
Before the tournament gets underway in Lake Nona, read on to learn more about what this decorated group has accomplished on the tennis court in 2019.
The lone American to be appearing in both singles and doubles at this year’s tournament, Wagner is currently ranked No. 1 in doubles and No. 3 in singles in the world rankings.
In 2019, the 45-year-old, long a stalwart in the quad division of his sport, helped make history at the Grand Slam level by competing in the first-ever quad championships at both the French Open and Wimbledon.
He won the doubles title in Paris with Aussie Dylan Alcott, was runner-up in quad singles to his partner, and also was the runner-up in quad doubles at Wimbledon with Koji Sugeno of Japan, falling to Alcott and Brit Andrew Lapthorne.
At the season-ending Masters, the 24-time major champion in singles and doubles owns similar success. Wagner has won a staggering 10 singles titles at the event, and also owns 11 titles in doubles alongside Taylor.
The duo will look to win their third consecutive quad doubles title this year, and eighth in the past nine years, as the most successful doubles tandem in the history of the event.
While he did not appear in the singles final a year ago, Wagner won six consecutive singles titles at the year-end event from 2012-17.
The other half of the most successful partnership to ever play at the UNIQLO Wheelchair Doubles Masters, the 40-year-old Taylor is a quad stalwart in his own right.
In addition to his record-setting partnership with Wagner at the event, the pair also owns 11 Grand Slam doubles titles as a team—which accounts for Taylor’s entire collection of major trophies.
A seven-time champion at the US Open and a four-time winner in Australia, the left-handed Taylor, currently No. 4 in the world in doubles, has won seven titles this year.
A victory alongside Wagner at the US Open USTA Wheelchair Championships in St. Louis following the US Open in Flushing Meadows kicked off a streak of three consecutive titles for Taylor this fall, as he also was crowned champion at events in Hilton Head Island, S.C., and Brazil.
Active in his community, as well, Taylor is the director of operations for the Wichita State University men's tennis team after volunteering as an assistant for the better part of the last decade.
He serves as vice president of Wichita Adaptive Sports, Inc., is a member of the National Wheelchair Committee, and serves as chair of the Missouri Valley section of the Diversity and Inclusion Committee.
The 29-year-old from California has reached seven doubles finals on the wheelchair tour in 2019, winning four titles.
She’s ascended to a career-high ranking in the doubles discipline this year thanks to that success and will arrive in Orlando at her current position of world No. 4.
Mathewson was also Team USA’s leading performer at the Parapan American Games in Lima, Peru, as she won two medals in her first-ever Parapan appearance: a gold in women’s doubles, with Emmy Kaiser, and a bronze in women’s singles.
At the Grand Slam level, she was a semifinalist in doubles at the US Open, and she won her first-ever US Open match in singles en route to the final four, as well.
This will be Mathewson’s fourth consecutive appearance at the UNIQLO Wheelchair Doubles Masters. She has finished runner-up twice, partnering Lucy Hunt of Great Britain in 2016 and 2018.
Chris Herman and Conner Stroud
The young American pair of Herman and Stroud have a bright future in wheelchair tennis, with both athletes currently occupying a place in the 21-and-under age bracket.
They have reached four doubles finals together on the international circuit this season, at tournaments in Alabama, Illinois, Michigan and Ontario, Canada, and each boast a career-best juniors ranking of world No. 2.
Both players are currently in the vicinity of their career-high doubles rankings on the tour, with Herman currently sitting at No.50-just two spots off of his career best of No. 48-while Stroud sits at No. 58, just shy of his career high of No. 50.
Herman reached his career-best doubles ranking earlier this fall in October, and is a two-time singles champion at the USTA Collegiate Wheelchair National Championships representing the University of Florida.
He also represented the U.S. at the Parapan American Games this summer in Lima, Peru, and won a silver medal in men's doubles alongside Casey Ratzlaff.
USTA.com will be providing comprehensive coverage of the NEC Wheelchair Tennis Masters and UNIQLO Wheelchair Doubles Masters from Orlando. Bookmark the tournament central page to follow along with the draws and schedule of play as they become available, and daily coverage will be streamed live online here.