wheelchair tennis

Wheelchair Tennis on Arthur Ashe Stadium For First Time

US Open wheelchair tennis was played for the first time ever today in Arthur Ashe Stadium. Great Britain’s Alfie Hewett and Gordon Reid, seeded No. 2, defeated Japan’s Shingo Kunedia and Argentina’s Gustavo Fernandez in the first match, 6-3, 6-2.

“We knew a few days ago that some matches would be played on Ashe,” said Hewett, 19. “I found out at 8 pm last night – it was a nice surprise.”

“It was incredible to have that opportunity as wheelchair players,” said Reid, 25. “It’s showing the respect that wheelchair tennis is gaining, a great first match here. It’s probably the nicest court I played on, so for me, it really is the stuff that dreams are made of, to play on Ashe. Hopefully, it’s not the last time.”

Following the men’s doubles match, American Dana Mathewson and Aniek van Koot, of the Netherlands, upset No. 2 seeds Yui Kamiji, of Japan, and Lucy Shuker, of Great Britain, in a tight 0-6, 6-4, [10-5], match.

The US Open Wheelchair Tennis Competition continues through Sunday across the men’s, women’s and quad divisions. It follows the same rules as able-bodied tennis except that the ball can bounce twice.

Wheelchair Tennis Debuts in Ashe Stadium

Arthur Ashe Stadium is celebrating its 20th year hosting US Open matches, yet none of those contests involved wheelchair tennis—until today. In the first stadium match of Day 11, Alfie Hewett (pictured) and Gordon Reid defeated Shingo Kunedia and Gustavo Fernandez, 6-3, 6-2, in the first wheelchair tennis match ever played on American tennis’ grandest stage. They were followed by women’s semifinalists Dana Mathewson and Aniek van Koot, who defeated Yui Kamiji and Lucy Shuker 0-6, 6-4, [10-5].

“It was incredible to have that opportunity as wheelchair players,” Reid says. “It’s showing the respect that wheelchair tennis is gaining, a great first match here. It’s probably the nicest court I played on, so for me, it really is the stuff that dreams are made of. Hopefully, it’s not the last time.”

Photo by Chris Nicholson, author of ‘Photographing Tennis.’ Follow Chris’ US Open photos on Instagram (@ShootingTennis).

Roland Garros Day 14: Links Roundup with Williams, Mahut, Nadal, Murray and more

Roland Garros Roundup takes you through the Slam’s hot stories of the day, both on and off the court.

Shot of the Day: After losing the first set, snatching the second, and having the upper hand several times in the third including up 4-2 in the tiebreak, Nicolas Mahut and Mike Llodra lost a tough battle to Mike and Bob Bryan in the men’s doubles, 4-6, 6-4, 7-6(4). Mahut was the only man on the court appearing in his first Slam final, so it’s no surprise that emotions overcame the Frenchman after their heartbreaking loss.

Toni Nadal says eighth French Open title could be “Nadal’s prized moment”: As Reem Abulleil of Sport 360 writes, “Toni Nadal believes a Rafael Nadal win in the Roland Garros final on Sunday against David Ferrer could be considered his nephew’s greatest success to date considering everything they had to overcome to return to a major final.” Toni Nadal appears to be both shocked and grateful that his nephew has been able to reach a grand slam final.

“I don’t know why we are here. In Sao Paolo, or in Vina Del Mar, we had so many problems and we thought that it would be difficult to be again here in the final. I thought it would be very difficult to be at the top again because the moment was not good, he had problems in his knee and altogether we had doubts whether he can go or not.”

Andy Murray’s French Open absence could be a game changer: Kevin Mitchell of the Guardian has been documenting Andy Murray’s recovery from the back injury that caused him to miss the French Open. Murray says he watched Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal’s semifinal match at Roland Garros and that not playing the French Open was “a hard decision but that sort of match is the reason why I wouldn’t be playing at the French Open.” Murray believes his French Open withdrawal may be “a blessing in disguise” and that he “feels really good and took maybe eight or nine days’ full rest doing nothing and has had no setbacks practicing.”

Serena Williams captures French Open title: Of course the biggest news of the day is Serena Williams claiming her 2nd French Open title (first since 2002) and her 16th grand slam overall placing her 6th on the all-time list. Greg Garber of ESPN notes that Serena “could catch Martina Navratilova and Chris Evert (18 each) as early as this year’s US Open.” Serena talked about how losing in the first round last year helped her enter this particular tournament with a relaxed state of mind.

“I think losing in the first round definitely helped me realize I had no points to defend. I have nothing to lose. I can just kind of relax and just do what I want to do here.”

While Serena may have not been telling the truth when she said she had nothing to lose she certainly looked like she was in cruise control for the vast majority of the tournament.

Bryan Brothers dash French hopes in doubles final: “Ten years ago, Bob and Mike Bryan were establishing themselves as a rising doubles pair when they shockingly ran to the title at Roland Garros, their very first major title” Nick McCarvel writes for the Roland Garros official website. The Bryans ended a not so shocking 2013 French Open campaign by taking down the French tandem of Nicolas Mahut and Michael Llodra in a third set tiebreaker. The Bryan’s were down 4-2 in the third set tiebreaker and managed to capture the final five points and escape with the victory. Afterwards, they admitted to having lady luck on their side to which Bob Bryan stated, “These guys are two of the greatest guys on tour. You played unbelievable today, we were lucky. It could have gone either way today. Today we were pretty fortunate.”

Christian Garin wins boys’ singles title: Christian Garin of Chile took down the younger brother of ATP professional Mischa Zverev, Alexander Zverev, in the boys singles final. Garin, as Guillaume Willecoq describes on the Roland Garros official site, gives “Chilean fans something to shout about once again a year after Fernando Gonzalez retired.”

Wheelchair winners: This Roland Garros featured video highlights the wheelchair tennis competition, one of the most impressive and inspiring competitions that takes place during the French Open but is unfortunately one of the most overlooked.

“Strength and Vulnerability”: Esther Vergeer and her Emotional Decision to Retire from Tennis

By Rick Gleijm

ROTTERDAM (Feb. 12, 2013) — After a ten year winning streak that included 42 Grand Slams and 7 Paralympic titles, 31-year-old Esther Vergeer has retired from the sport of wheelchair tennis, ending one of the most prestigious careers in all of sports.

The Woerden, Netherland native conducted am emotional book presentation and reading of her biography “Esther Vergeer: Strength and Vulnerability” to a room filled with media, family and friends at the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament today in Rotterdam.

She began by reading out loud the final chapter of her book, explaining how the decision to retire from wheelchair tennis slowly developed. She was unable to hold back the tears when she came to the concluding paragraph.

“During the Australian Open, where everyone in the wheelchair tennis circuit was playing the first Grand Slam of 2013, I was sitting home on the sofa with Marijn, watching the matches quietly from a distance and at the same time looking at the beautiful snowy landscape in Woerden. It felt wonderful. I made my decision, I quit,” stated Vergeer.

She continued: “I am very proud of my achievements and my titles, and am looking back on my career with a wonderful feeling. Continuing had no added value … It can’t become more beautiful than this.”

Afterwards a short interview with Esther by Dutch anchorwoman Quinty Trustfull, followed by distribution of the first copies to Richard Krajicek and Johan Cruijff. Finally her parent, brother and friend were called on stage, receiving a copy as well.