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Max Wong, 16, doubles up at 2023 USTA wheelchair national championships

Victoria Chiesa | January 05, 2024


One of the U.S.'s most talented young wheelchair tennis players closed out 2023 by making a big statement. Sixteen-year-old Max Wong from Bayside, N.Y. not only won the top junior title at November's national championships, but the co-ed adult division, too. 

Though he came into the field unseeded, Wong was the class of the co-ed junior 'A' division field at the America Wheelchair Tennis Championships, held from Nov. 16-19 in McDonough, Ga., as he dropped just five games in six sets—which included a 6-1, 6-0 victory over No. 2 seed Spencer Davis in the semifinals. In the final, Wong toppled Colorado's Sabina Czauz, who beat No. 1 seed Zane Goodwin in the semis, 6-2, 6-0. 

 

His win in the co-ed 'A' adult division, though, proved much more of a surprise. After two straight-set wins in the first two rounds, where he dropped a combined three games, Wong won a pair of titantic three-setters in the semifinals and final to take the event's top gold ball back home to Queens. 

 

In the semifinals, Wong rallied after dropping a tight first set to stun Saint Louis' Kevin Green, the top-ranked player in the USTA co-ed 'A' rankings who's been playing tournaments since before Wong was born. And the teenager won it going away: He finished the 5-7, 6-4, 6-0 comeback with a bagel. 

 

Buit final set of the championship, against Rock Hill, S.C.'s Taylor Wingate, 37, was the complete opposite. After Wingate—who toppled No. 2 seed Jeff Townsend in the semifinals, 6-0, 6-2—pushed Wong to a decider by winning the second set, the youngster pushed himself over the line in a dramatic final-set tiebreak, 6-3, 4-6, 7-6(3).

 

Wingate didn't leave McDonough without a gold ball, though, as he and Michelle Wilson of Sevierville, Tenn. were the champions in the co-ed 'A' doubles division.

 

The sweep capped a successful year for Wong that saw him named to the U.S.'s junior World Team Cup team for the second time, and win his first ITF-sanctioned junior title at June's Saint-Hyacinthe International in Canada. In the final there, he beat fellow American Maylee Phelps—who spent much of the year as the world No. 1 junior girl—7-6(6), 3-6, 7-5, and also reached the consolation singles final in the men's bracket.

In January, Wong reached a career-high junior ranking of No. 20, and finished the season ranked No. 47. 

 

2023 Adult & Junior National Championship Results

Coed 18 & Under A Singles - Max Wong def. Sabina Czauz - 6-2, 6-0

Coed 18 & Under B Singles - Jordan Bates - 2-0 round-robin record

Coed A Singles - Max Wong def. Taylor Wingate - 6-3, 4-6, 7-6(3)

Coed B Singles - Dustin Stelsky def. Jacob Wald - 6-2, 6-3

Coed C Singles - Trey Bates def. Beth Redford - 6-0, 6-1

 

Coed A Doubles - Michelle Wilson/Taylor Wingate def. Kevin Green/Matthew Schmalzriedt - 6-3, 6-3 

Coed B Doubles - Fred Esman/Dustin Stelsky def. - Grayson Fox/Dez del Barba - 6-4, 6-2

Coed C Doubles - Allen Champagne/William LaFitte def. Trey Bates/Sonja Harris - 6-2, 6-3

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