US Open organisers have been forced into a massive change in the wake of criticism led by Aussie wheelchair star Dylan Alcott.
The United States Tennis Association (USTA) said the wheelchair competition will be staged September 10-13 in New York in its traditional spot on the calendar after widespread criticism of its original cancelation.
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The event will be played at the National Tennis Center during the final four days of the Grand Slam tournament on the Flushing Meadows hardcourts.
Men's and women's singles and doubles and quad singles and doubles events will be contested with similar field sizes to past events, the USTA said.
The move came after the USTA was accused of discrimination for calling off the event due to the coronavirus pandemic when announcing its plans to stage the US Open as scheduled in New York starting August 31, also without qualifying or mixed doubles.
Paralympic champion Alcott called the move "disgusting discrimination" by the USTA, which had multiple virtual meetings with wheelchair athletes and the International Tennis Federation over the past week to create a plan for a 2020 event.
The Aussie star led a chorus of backlash after original plans for the grand slam did not include a wheelchair competition, one of several changes to help stem the spread of COVID-19.
Alcott's outrage was echoed by many in the tennis world, with Andy Murray among the star's of the game to hit out at the blatant "discrimination" against disabled athletes.
The 29-year-old Aussie star used a spot on Channel Nine’s ‘TODAY’ show recently to call out US Open organisers in a fiery on-air spray.
“This sets a really dangerous example for people all around the world that we are second rate citizens and we aren’t worth as much as our able-bodied counterparts.” Dylan Alcott has slammed the organisers of the U.S. Open for dropping wheelchair tennis. #9Today pic.twitter.com/cpB1l5zDnf— The Today Show (@TheTodayShow) June 18, 2020
Alcott led criticism of US Open
"To not be given that opportunity, or not being given the choice to be able to go, or not being consulted on whether we want to go, purely because we have a disability.
"That decision was made for us purely because we have a disability, and they still haven't told us a reason why, and they don't plan to.
"It really upsets me to not be a part of the decision making process.
Alcott said former World No.1 Murray was just one of tennis’ high-profile stars to reach out and offer support following news the US Open was scrapping the wheelchair events.
"I actually spoke to Andy Murray on the phone for 30 minutes last night, and he's publicly backed us, which is awesome,” he added.
"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 and they support us as well.”
Wheelchair athletes will follow the same health and safety procedures as all US Open players and will be able to enter the tennis centre for practice starting on September 7.