World number one and two quad wheelchair tennis players Dylan Alcott and Andy Lapthorne have criticised the US Open for its “discrimination” in omitting wheelchair competitions from this year’s tournament.
On Wednesday, organisers said the Grand Slam would take place in New York from 31 August to 13 September, featuring men’s and women’s singles and doubles but no mixed doubles, junior or wheelchair events.
“Disgusting discrimination,” said Australian world number one Alcott.
“Players weren’t consulted. I thought I did enough to qualify – 2x champion, number one in the world. But unfortunately I missed the only thing that mattered, being able to walk.”
The US Open, which will be held without fans, will be the first Grand Slam to take place since the coronavirus outbreak.
Writing on Twitter, Paralympic champion Alcott – also a three-time champion at Flushing Meadows – said: “Please do not tell me I am a ‘greater risk’ because I am disabled. I am disabled yes but that does not make me SICK. I am fitter and healthier than nearly everybody reading this right now. There are no added risks.
“And for sure there are far more important things going on in the world, but that choice should’ve been up TO ME. It is blatant discrimination for able bodied people to decide on my behalf what I do with my LIFE AND CAREER just because I am disabled. Not good enough.”
Briton Lapthorne and Alcott won the US Open doubles title together in 2019, while Lapthorne is also the reigning singles champion.
“This is yet again another example of terrible leadership in the sport of tennis. I don’t get the chance to defend my singles and doubles titles at the US Open because I’m in a wheelchair,” Lapthorne said.
“Complete disgrace if this isn’t changed. I don’t know what to say other than discrimination!
“Love tennis absolutely can’t stand everything that comes with it… constant battles. Still in the dark ages.”
Britain’s Gordon Reid, the Paralympic wheelchair men’s singles champion, said he was “massively disappointed”.
He added: “The wheelchair players have had ZERO communication or consultation from either the ITF or the Grand Slam around this decision.”
BBC Sport has contacted the US Open for comment.