US Open wheelchair compeitions : Organisers in talks following criticism

“The USTA expects to gather player feedback on their perspective and work with with the ITF to finalise an approach to the 2020 US Open wheelchair competition”

Gordon Reid was one of the players who shared his disappointment at the inital decision to omit the wheelchair tournament from the 2020 competition

The US Open organisers have promised to look at ways the wheelchair competitions can take place this year, following criticism about how their initial removal from the schedules was handled.

The United States Tennis Association announced on Wednesday that a streamlined version of the US Open would take place behind closed doors from August 31 to September 13, with all wheelchair events omitted from the schedule.

Paralympic champion Gordon Reid, a four-time winner in the men’s doubles at Flushing Meadows and two-time singles semi-finalist, said he was given no forewarning that this would be the case and found out about the news on Twitter.‘US Open discriminating against wheelchair tennis’Australian Paralympic tennis champion Dylan Alcott says the omission of the wheelchair tournament from this year’s US Open is “disgusting discrimination”.

The International Paralympic Committee was also critical of the decision, with president Andrew Parsons saying the USTA should not be using the coronavirus pandemic as “an excuse to discriminate against a group of players”.null

A USTA statement said: “[On Friday] the USTA, in conjunction with ITF wheelchair tennis leadership, conducted a very productive call with the wheelchair athletes who traditionally compete in the US Open wheelchair competition.null

“The USTA acknowledged that the association should have communicated directly and worked in a collaborative manner with the wheelchair athletes when developing the plan for the 2020 US Open, as it had done with both the ATP and WTA.

“The USTA also committed to working with the players and the ITF to explore a number of potential scenarios for the wheelchair competition to determine the best approach moving forward for the athletes and the competition.

“The USTA expects to gather player feedback on their perspective and work with with the ITF to finalise an approach to the 2020 US Open wheelchair competition.”

The new statement from the USTA was received positively by Reid, who said on Friday night: “Positive discussions with @usopen today. They’re looking to make it right with the help of the players.”

Dylan Alcott, who won the 2015 and 2018 wheelchair singles titles at Flushing Meadows and who is the reigning doubles champion, had said that the omission of the wheelchair tournament from the US Open was “disgusting discrimination”.

He also took to social media to welcome the organisers’ move and thanked people for their support.

“Positive start,” Alcott wrote on Twitter.