Third time still a charm
By: Emily Lewis
September 5, 2012
LONDON – Nick Taylor was one serve down, 4-5, trying to stay in the second set. He started his service motion and tossed the ball up… with his feet.
“It’s all I had,” he explained. “I started playing tennis at 14 and it’s what I’ve done from the beginning.”
Apparently 18 years of practice makes perfect.
Taylor (Wichita, Kan.) and doubles partner David Wagner (Hillsboro, Ore.) accomplished something no one has done before in wheelchair tennis when the duo won their third consecutive gold medal in the men’s quad division. They defeated Great Britain’s Peter Norfolk and Andy Laphorne in a thrilling three-set victory (6-2, 5-6, 6-2) Wednesday afternoon.
Taylor is different than most who play this sport.
He was the only player on court using a power chair, not exactly a competitive advantage in tennis, yet his consistency proved to be the difference in the third set.
Taylor was consistently in the right place at the right time setting up his partner to charge the net and win points up off sharp angle volleys. “He just has great anticipation,” said Boaz Kramer, another player in the quad competition.
The smart shot selection earned the American pair the right to be called the most dominating quad doubles team the U.S. has ever seen. The two are as excited about this gold as their others.
"I think it feels just as good … and we appreciate it, because we have just something that no other Paralympic team has ever done,” said Wagner. “So it's a true honor and to do that with Nick is truly awesome.”
The title didn’t come easy; they had to earn it. The pair will have to postpone the celebration for now, as they prepare to face each other in the singles event on Thursday. Wagner leads the matchup 60-7, but they look forward to playing each other.
Taylor shared his thoughts about tomorrow saying, “We do this a lot. We play each other a lot, so we go out there and we are still friends and family and brothers. We know that going in, but we both want to win so we give it everything we’ve got."