To host the US Open this year there were going to be some cuts were going to be made but one that doesn’t make sense is cutting of Wheelchair Tennis.
The US Open have cut the doubles to 32 teams, mixed doubles has been scrapped as has qualifying.
I understand losing mixed, I like it but it’s not a major event. Cutting doubles is tough but it is good to there is compensation, similar with qualifying the players will be helped out which is good. Losing juniors seemed inevitable, players would be desperate to play but it wasn’t viable.
The US Open have announced they have given $3.3 million to both the ATP tour and WTA tour to compensate the players from those events as specified in their own statement.
In hosting the two events, the USTA has committed $60 million in total compensation to players to ensure the events are financially viable for all competitors.
In addition to prize money and other compensation to athletes competing in the two events, the USTA has also made the decision to provide approximately $6.6 million in additional relief grants and subsidies due to the decision to not hold the Qualifying Tournament, and the reduction of the doubles draws. These funds will be allocated to the WTA and ATP, which will then make the determination of how to distribute these funds and/or utilize them to provide replacement playing and ranking-point opportunities.
This is the part of the statement where they talk about prize money and there is no mention of wheelchair tennis, in their whole statement published on their website there is no mention at all as to why there is no Wheelchair Tennis or any compensation for the event.
USTA CEO Mike Dowse said in the statement:
“These tournaments also serve as an inspiration to tennis players of all levels, encouraging them to get out and play given the social distancing nature of our sport.”
The USTA Chairman of the Board Patrick Galbraith said:
This historic undertaking will provide a tremendous boost to the entire tennis industry and community, a boost so needed in these trying times.”
It isn’t inspiring to tennis players of all levels though is it?
World number one and fifteen time Grand Slam champion Dylan Alcott is not happy about the decision:
There can be no argument for what Dylan has said.
Just because someone is in a wheelchair it doesn’t mean they are at a greater risk. These athletes are in a wheelchair but they aren’t ill or won’t nessecarilly be at a greater risk!
Speaking to 9 News Melbourne, Dylan said there was no consultation. There was no mention in the US Open’s statement and he found out via Tennis Australia and an article on Twitter.
British players Gordon Reid, Andy Lapthorne and Alfie Hewitt have also hit out at the US Open:
It’s incredibly poor from the tournament to cut the event especially without even consulting the best players who once again found out via social media platforms.
Why couldn’t wheelchair tennis take place? It usually begins during the second week of the major so there would be less people on site anyway so why can’t it go ahead and why was there no mention of it in their statement? If you go back over their transcript from their live press conference the word ‘wheelchair’ gets mentioned once and that’s it. There’s no reasoning at all!
It is over to the US Open now to respond to what has happened and give a genuine reason as to why it’s been scrapped.
In terms of equality tennis has improved greatly but you can’t pick and choose when to be equal. You can’t put out a statement saying “these tournaments also serve as an inspiration to tennis players of all levels” and then cut wheelchair tennis, makes no sense at all!
I really hope they make a U-turn on this decision.
Since then and 24 hours after the decision was made public the ITF which is meant to protect players has produced a statement:
This statement is extremely poor.