US Open: Wheelchair events to be held after player backlash

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US Open: Wheelchair events to be held after player backlash

Wheelchair events will be held at this year’s US Open after a majority of players endorsed the US Tennis Association’s change of heart.

Australia’s quad world number one Dylan Alcott had described an initial decision to scrap the wheelchair events as “disgusting discrimination”.

But after admitting it should have consulted players, the USTA offered a choice between three options.

A majority of players have voted in favour of staging the event as usual.

It will take place in New York between 10 and 13 September.

In a statement, the USTA said their U-turn was made after “multiple virtual meetings with a group of wheelchair athletes and the ITF”.

The tournament will feature men’s and women’s singles and doubles, as well as quad singles and doubles. Draw sizes will be “similar” to those at past US Open tournaments.

British quad player Andy Lapthorne said on Twitter: “So excited to defend my singles and doubles titles this year.”

The other choices presented to players were either to take part in a delayed tournament in Orlando in October, or to accept $150,000 (£120,238) in compensation for their events not going ahead at all.

The players will be given access to the official hotels on the weekend before the wheelchair events begin, and allowed to practice at Flushing Meadows from the Monday.

The prize fund will be 95% of last year’s total, with the International Tennis Federation – like all of the tours – still grappling with how best to restart rankings which have been frozen since March.

The US Open will be played behind closed doors, with no singles qualifying and reduced doubles draws, from 31 August.

It will be the first Grand Slam to be played since the professional tours were halted in March because of the coronavirus pandemic.

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