USTA will work with players & ITF to finalize approach for wheelchair competition

The USTA has said that it should have consulted wheelchair athletes before announcing the cancellation of the wheelchair events at the US Open later this year and is now exploring options to see if the event can be held.

US Open on their wheelchair events

In a statement released, the USTA says, « The USTA also committed to working with the players and the ITF (International Tennis Federation) to explore a number of potential scenarios for the wheelchair competition.

The USTA expects to gather player feedback on their perspective and work with the ITF to finalize an approach to the 2020 U.S. Open Wheelchair Competition. 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. »

As part of the original plan of the US Open, the USTA said it would be cutting down events at this year’s edition in order to reduce the number of people on the tournament grounds. As part of their plan, wheelchair, junior and mixed doubles events were eliminated, qualifying events in the singles were also dropped and the size of the draw in the men’s and women’s tournament were halved to 32 teams each, as compared to the usual draw of 64 teams.

The USTA had said it would distribute more than $3 million to each of the men’s and women’s tours to distribute to players, who would have otherwise played in the qualifying draw or the full-sized doubles draw.

Several wheelchair players had complained about the exclusion of the wheelchair competition.

Wheelchair athlete Stephane Houdet – a multiple US Open champion – tweeted about the possible scenarios that the USTA is looking at, which includes – canceling the 2020 competition but providing $150,000 in total compensation for wheelchair athletes; holding the US Open wheelchair matches in Orlando, Florida, where the USTA National Campus is, or holding the competition in Flushing Meadows during the US Open with a 5% reduction in compensation from 2019 (which was $325,000).

The US Open is scheduled to be held in New York from 24th August to 13th September. Serena Williams and Bianca Andreescu have already committed to playing the tournament. It remains to be seen if the other top players, who are currently in Europe would travel to the United States for the tournament.

The USTA have also said they would play the Cincinnati event, which is a joint ATP & WTA event, in New York so that players can be in one place for a longer time.

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