We Need to Talk: Frances Tiafoe and Taylor Townsend on racial inequality in tennis
Despite the coronavirus pandemic, the US Open is still slated to be held from Aug. 31 to Sept. 13 in New York. However, not every event is going to be included in the annual Grand Slam tournament.
While the US Open decided to move forward with singles and doubles tournaments on the men’s and women’s sides, there will not be a wheelchair event. Top quads men’s wheelchair tennis player Dylan Alcott expressed his frustration with the decision Thursday, calling it “disgusting discrimination.”
“Just got announced that the US Open will go ahead WITHOUT wheelchair tennis,” Alcott wrote on Twitter. “Players weren’t consulted. I thought I did enough to qualify – 2x champion, number 1 in the world. But unfortunately I missed the only thing that mattered, being able to walk. Disgusting discrimination”
Alcott followed his initial tweet by noting that just because he is in a wheelchair does not mean he is at an added risk of contracting COVID-19.
“And please do not tell me I am a ‘greater risk’ because I am disabled,” he wrote. “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 @usopen.”
US Open organizers did respond to the criticism that they faced for eliminating the wheelchair tennis tournament, according to USA Today:
“When we look at the overall of qualifying, mixed, juniors, wheelchair championship, we had to make the really difficult decision that that extra load of the number of bodies that is in the multiples was outside something we felt we could handle ultimately to mitigate the risk and the health and well-being for all.”
The USTA released a statement saying, “[We] should have communicated directly, & worked in a collaborative manner with the wheelchair athletes.”
They are reportedly working with International Tennis Federation to finalize plan for wheelchair competition at the 2020 USOpen.
Alcott has 170 career victories to his credit, including the 2015 and 2018 US Opens. The Australia native also recently won the Australian Open for the fifth consecutive year in January.