US Open_ Andy Lapthorne needs resolution to 2024 scheduling conflict with Paralympics
Andy Lapthorne is a 16-time Grand Slam champion
Britain’s Andy Lapthorne has known as for an answer to be discovered after the US Open determined to not maintain wheelchair occasions in 2024 due to a scheduling conflict with the Paralympics.
Subsequent 12 months’s US Open is scheduled from 26 August to eight September, with the Paralympics in Paris going down throughout the identical fortnight.
It’s the fourth time the wheelchair occasions is not going to happen on the New York Grand Slam for that reason.
Nonetheless, Lapthorne – a two-time quad singles champion at Flushing Meadows – says cancellation will not be the reply.
“It is disappointing and from a participant viewpoint, I am attempting to talk up for the taking part in group as a result of there’s lots of gamers from international locations who actually depend on the 4 Grand Slams for his or her earnings, to pay their payments and to proceed to play on the tour,” Lapthorne advised BBC Sport.
“To lose one of many largest occasions of the 12 months, particularly on the finish of the 12 months, goes to be actually robust for lots of the taking part in group. You are actually asking them to go from Wimbledon in July to the top of the Australian Open, which would be the begin of February, with no actual pay.
“It is a robust scenario however I hope we are able to discover a resolution on this event.”
The whole prize cash pot for the wheelchair occasions in 2023 was $1.4m (£1.2m), in comparison with $44.7m (£36.8m) for the boys’s and ladies’s singles. The Paralympics provides no prize cash.
A US Open spokesperson advised BBC Sport it had checked out holding the wheelchair occasions concurrently the US Open’s qualifying event, which takes place the week earlier than the championships start, however had dominated rescheduling wouldn’t be “logistically attainable” due to an absence of “courtroom stock”.
Lapthorne, additionally a four-time quad doubles US Open champion, mentioned: “I do not see why among the courts could not be used for the occasion as a substitute of getting the able-bodied athletes utilizing them as follow courts. I believe we might most likely solely want three or 4 courts for 4 days to get the occasion performed.
“It is not supreme however taking part in it on one other date in order that the gamers get the rating factors, they get to be champion for that 12 months however, extra importantly for the gamers who’re struggling financially, they receives a commission.
“I really feel there is a resolution to get the occasion performed, it won’t be excellent for everybody however I really feel like conversations must occur. I really feel the ITF (Worldwide Tennis Federation) and USTA (United States Tennis Affiliation) are far too fast to only decide on cancelling the occasion.”
Wheelchair occasions didn’t happen on the US Open in 2008, 2012 and 2016 due to a scheduling conflict with the Paralympics, although they did run in 2021 as that 12 months’s Video games – postponed in 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic – completed earlier than the beginning of the Grand Slam.
Lapthorne, 32, criticised the US Open’s choice to omit wheelchair competitions from the 2020 Covid-19-affected event as “discrimination” and a “kick within the enamel”. The US Open later backtracked on its choice, and Lapthorne went on to win the doubles title at that 12 months’s event.
A US Open spokesperson mentioned: “Earlier this 12 months, the USTA investigated the potential of shifting the 2024 US Open wheelchair championships to US Open fan week for the reason that Paralympic Video games will happen through the occasion’s usually scheduled timeframe.
“We labored with the ITF all through this course of. Sadly, such a rescheduling will not be logistically attainable. Because of the variety of gamers on-site for the US Open qualifying event and people practising prematurely of the beginning of the primary draw, there wouldn’t be sufficient courtroom stock to carry the occasion on-site.
“That is compounded by the rise in draw sizes for the boys’s, ladies’s, and quad divisions over the previous two years. It ought to be famous that the US Open junior wheelchair championships will happen in 2024.”
BBC Sport has approached the ITF for remark.