The International Paralympics Committee President Andrew Parsons has welcomed the United States Tennis Association (USTA) to reconsider their decision to not include wheelchair tennis in this year’s edition of the US Open scheduled from 31 August to 13 September.
On Wednesday 24 June, the USTA released the following statement:
The 2020 US Open Wheelchair Tennis Competition will be held in its traditional place on the US Open calendar at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center this September. The tournament will run from Sept. 10-13.
This decision was made following multiple virtual meetings with a group of wheelchair athletes and the International Tennis Federation over the last week. The 2020 US Open Wheelchair Competition will feature men’s and women’s singles and doubles events and quad singles and doubles events, all with draw sizes similar to past US Opens.
Wheelchair athletes will follow the same health and safety procedures as all players participating in the US Open and will be able to access the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center beginning on Sept. 7.
The ITF is carefully reviewing the impact of this evolving situation related to awarding wheelchair ranking points in regards to the UNIQLO Wheelchair Tennis Tour. The USTA expects a decision to be announced in the coming days.
IPC President Andrew Parsons said: “The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) is pleased with the US Open’s decision to reinstate wheelchair tennis in this year’s event. Following an outburst of disappointment by the athlete community with their initial decision, the organisers listened, and with the support of the International Tennis Federation, took quick action to work together and reconsider the initial decision.
“The US Open has featured wheelchair tennis competitions since 2005, and later added doubles and the quad division. The event has come so far in advancing wheelchair tennis and serving as a role model of inclusion. The entire Paralympic Movement appreciates the organisers’ commitment to continue promoting the sport of wheelchair tennis.”
Chelsey Gotell, chairperson of the IPC Athletes’ Council, added: “I applaud the US Open for listening to the athletes’ voices, reconsidering their original decision and including wheelchair tennis back in September’s competition. To see that Para athletes are also being consulted in further planning of the event is huge progress, as we must realise that such events ultimately impact the athletes the most.”