The USTA announced the field for the 2019 US Open Wheelchair Competition. The event, in its 12th year, will be held Sept. 5-8 at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing, N.Y.
The 2019 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.
The wheelchair competition was first added to the US Open back in 2005, with only men’s and women’s singles champions being crowned. One of the all-time great wheelchair athletes, the Netherlands’ Esther Vergeer, who won 470 consecutive matches before retiring with the streak intact, won the inaugural women’s event, with Robin Ammerlaan, also of the Netherlands, winning the first men’s title.
This year’s field will feature 18 of the Top 20 wheelchair tennis athletes from around the globe, including the Top 8 men, Top 7 women and Top 3 quad players. The field is determined by the July 15 ITF rankings plus the addition of one wild card per division.
The 2019 US Open will see two athletes vying for a calendar-year Grand Slam as Gustavo Fernandez from Argentina in the men’s division and Australia’s Dylan Alcott in the quad division will each look to take home their fourth Grand Slam title of the year.
In the women’s field, top-seeded Diede de Groot of the Netherlands will look to avenge her loss at Wimbledon to No. 2 seed and fellow countrywoman Aniek van Koot, which cost her a chance for a calendar Grand Slam. Also in the mix will be Yui Kamiji of Japan, who lost to de Groot in last year’s US Open final. The United States will be represented by 29-year-old American Dana Mathewson, of San Diego.
On the men’s side, Gustavo Fernandez looks to continue his dominance of the men’s field in 2019. Fernandez is looking to add himself to the record books with his first of hopefully many calendar Grand Slams. In his way will be 23-time Grand Slam singles champion Shingo Kunieda of Japan, who will be looking to win his seventh US Open Wheelchair Competition singles title. Both will have to beat the 2018 US Open champion in singles and doubles Alfie Hewett from Great Britain along the way in what is a very deep and talented field.
In the quad division, Dylan Alcott will not only look complete the calendar Grand Slam but also raise his third US Open trophy. Standing in his way from the United States will once again be three-time US Open Wheelchair Competition quad singles champion and six-time finalist David Wagner (Chula Vista, Calif.). Bryan Barten of Hart, Mich., will be back for his third US Open Wheelchair Competition in the quad event. In doubles, Wagner will look to continue his dominance by putting his undefeated streak in the Quad Finals on the line, aiming to etch his name on the trophy for the 10th time.
The USTA was officially designated by the USOPC 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 U.S., including the development of local programming, the sanctioning of tournaments, overseeing rankings, creating and managing a high performance program for developing elite disabled athletes and selecting teams to compete internationally for the United States.