World No. 1 Wheelchair Tennis players Esther Vergeer (NED) and Shingo Kunieda of Japan head up the women’s and men’s main draws at the 2011 US Open Wheelchair Competition.
The event, in its sixth year, will be held from 8-11 September at the United States Tennis Association (USTA) Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing, New York. The competition will feature 20 of the top Wheelchair Tennis athletes from around the globe.
Five-time and defending women’s singles champion Esther Vergeer of the Netherlands will look to continue her unbeaten streak of more than 420 consecutive matches, which dates back to January 2003, in New York, while Shingo Kunieda of Japan, who holds a 25-1 singles record this year, will look at defending his title from last year. Noam Gershony of Israel, and Marjolein Buis of the Netherlands, will both be making their US Open debuts in the quad draw and women’s draw, respectively.
The 2011 US Open Wheelchair Competition will feature a Men’s, Women’s and Quad Division, and will include six events: men’s singles, men’s doubles, women’s singles, women’s doubles, quad singles and quad doubles. Wheelchair Tennis follows the same rules as able-bodied tennis, except that the ball can bounce twice.
This is the first time that the world’s top seven ranked men’s and women’s wheelchair players will enter the tournament. The top three ranked quad players also will all compete. Additionally, one wild card was selected on both the men’s, women’s, and quad sides. The total purse for the event will be $120,000, a $20,000 increase in prize money over last year.
The USTA was officially designated by the USOC as the national governing body for the Paralympic sport of Wheelchair Tennis in June 2002, becoming the first Olympic national governing body to earn this recognition. As the national governing body for Wheelchair Tennis, the USTA manages Wheelchair Tennis in the United States, including the development of local programming, the sanctioning of tournaments, overseeing wheelchair rankings, creating and managing a High Performance program for developing elite disabled athletes, and selecting teams to compete internationally for the United States.