By Chris Oddo | @TheFanChild | Thursday, June 23, 2022
The US Open is stepping up its commitment to wheelchair tennis.
The USTA today announced that the US Open Wheelchair Championships will expand in size, with expanded fields in the men’s and women’s divisions and the introduction of the inaugural US Open Junior Wheelchair Championship.
According to the US Open, the increase in field size for the men’s and women’s divisions is the single-largest draw expansion in Grand Slam wheelchair history. In advance of the 2021 US Open, the quad draw was doubled in size, increasing from four to eight competitors.
The tournament has increased the size the of the women’s and men’s singles and doubles draws from eight singles players and four doubles teams to new draw sizes of 16 women, 16 men, eight women’s doubles teams and eight men’s doubles teams; there is also and the introduction of US Open Junior Wheelchair Championships with draw sizes of eight girls and eight boys. Additionally, the USTA recently became the first national governing body in the world to fully integrate professional wheelchair competition operations within its able-bodied Pro Tennis Operations equivalent.
This summer will be a historic one for wheelchair tennis.
The 2022 US Open Wheelchair Championships presented by Deloitte will boast the largest player field in Grand Slam history and feature the first-ever junior competition.
— US Open Tennis (@usopen) June 22, 2022
“The expansion of the wheelchair tournament at the US Open and the addition of the inaugural US Open Junior Wheelchair Championship are inspirational enhancements to one of the greatest events in all of sports,” said Billie Jean King, the former US Open champion and tennis and rights activist. “These new opportunities provide growth at multiple levels, allowing more players to compete in the US Open and providing more opportunities for fans to enjoy world class tennis.”
“It is amazing news on how the US Open is growing and making the effort to continue the development of wheelchair tennis,” said legendary Esther Vergeer, 48-time Grand Slam champion and seven-time Paralympic gold medalist. “What is also amazing is to see the quality of play and level growing, so it suits to have this opportunity created. It is great that the US Open wants to take on this responsibility. What is also incredible is the amazing opportunity for the juniors to play in such an environment. That is the best inspiration and motivation to go and get the best out of yourself.”