The US Open has come in for heavy criticism for not including wheelchair tennis.
Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray have all reached out to show their support to wheelchair tennis after the organiserS of the US Open opted against including the event in the revamped plans.
Earlier this week, the US Tennis Association (USTA) unveiled their plans for the US Open, which is set to start on its scheduled date of August 31 without fans in attendance.
However, among the concessions made in order to stage the event, the wheelchair events were cancelled.
The men’s and women’s singles draw will take place with its 128 players but the doubles has been reduced from 64 to 32.
News of the USTA’s plans were met with a scathing response from one of wheelchair tennis’ biggest names, Dylan Alcott.
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The Australian, who has 10 Grand Slam titles, said the decision was “disgusting discrimination” while his doubles partner Andy Lapthorne called it “ableism” and a “kick in the teeth”.
Alcott’s comments were posted by Murray on his Instagram account and speaking on The Today Show, he said he feared the USTA’s decision was setting a dangerous precedent.
“This sets a really dangerous example around the world that we are second-rate citizens,” Alcott told The Today Show.
“That we aren’t worth as much as our able-bodied counterparts.
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“I know there’s a lot going on in the world and I want to send my love to everyone affected by Covid and Black Lives Matter and everything like that but that decision is up to us the same way as it’s up to Ash Barty or Roger Federer or whatever.”
Alcott then revealed some of the sport’s biggest names had been in touch to offer their backing.
“I actually spoke to Andy Murray on the phone for 30 minutes last night, he’s publicly this morning backed us wheelchair tennis players online, which is awesome,” he said.
“I know a lot of the top players, the likes of Federer and Novak are reaching out internally to try and help because they love wheelchair tennis as well. I know the public does, too.
“I just want to get that decision-making back in our hands.”
Tennis Australia chief Craig Tiley also lent his support to Alcott and said he intends to have all events played at the Australian Open.
“Dylan Alcott is a tremendous ambassador for tennis and has done a huge amount for our sport both here and around the world,” said Tiley.
“We understand how disappointed he is at not being able to compete at the US Open this year and we look forward to seeing him back on the court soon.
“In terms of our plans for the Australian Open, as we’ve been saying for the past few weeks, we’re optimistic about having an AO in January with all the events and all the players.
“We empathise with our US Open counterparts who have put an enormous amount of work into staging their event during such difficult circumstances and in these unprecedented times.”
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