Wheelchair tennis at NTC

DSCN6933 GOODThe 2010 Jana Hunsaker Memorial was held last week, June 10-13 at USTA. They had about 54 players competing for US$10,000. Men’s singles champ would take home $1,760 while the Lady’s $1,000. The top 4 gentlemen singles players are

1. Yoshinobu Fujimoto of Japan
2. Yann Mathieu of Canada
3. Paul Moran of USA
4. Stephen Welch of USA

This picture was taken while Paul was playing Joel Dembe in the Quarter final. He beat Joel 6:4, 7:6 (5). Pumpkin balled for the match.

I watched Steve Welch vs Anthony Anderson match. They traded many amazing shots. One of the players who were watching told me that Welch is the top dog in the USA and played a challenge match against Howard Stern the radio host about 4-5 years ago.
“He (Steve) kicked his behind big time.” 🙂

Welch DSCN6833

The wheelchair community is rather and pretty tight knit. Steve and Anthony would high five each other at change overs. At one point, Anthony cried out loud,
“You got to be kidding Steve!!” as he was trying hard but unable to save one of many incredible shots.
The few players I asked, all had played tennis before they became disabled.
“Would a wheelchair player has advantage if he played before became disabled?”
They said it’s a debate.
Oh well ..
There was a big dude in the red t-shirt who was the only one talked about his injury – a fall into a ditch. As an ignorant AB – their way of referring us, the able body – I didn’t know what to think/do around them but curious. In fact, they’re very self efficient and able – dumb of me to even think otherwise. The first day in the parking lot, as players arriving with their gears – sitting in a wheelchair and pushing their tournament wheels, I offered my help timidly: didn’t want to hurt their feelings. Only two players accepted my help.

All grand slams have the top 8 to play. The Wheelchair US Open is held in St Louis each year.

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