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Nick Taylor, A Wheelchair Tennis Star At Four Paralympic Games, Retires

By Chrös McDougall | Nov. 08, 2021, 11:58 a.m. (ET)

(L-R) Nick Taylor and David Wagner pose after winning their wheelchair quad doubles final match at the 2013 US Open on Sept. 7, 2013 in New York City.

 

Nick Taylor, a wheelchair tennis star whose career spanned three decades and included three consecutive Paralympic gold medals, announced his retirement from the sport following a tournament this past week in Orlando.

The native of Wichita, Kansas, ends his esteemed career as one of the most accomplished quad tennis players of all time, having ranked No. 1 in the world as both a singles and doubles player, won 11 Grand Slam titles and competed in four Paralympic Games, claiming a medal at each one.

Born with a rare disease called arthrogryposis that severely limits his range of motion, Taylor, who turns 42 on Friday, began climbing the ranks of quad tennis and eventually stayed among the best in the world for several years.

Known for his signature “kick” serve, which involved him tossing the ball with his foot as the racquet was chained to his hand, Taylor won 383 singles matches and 430 doubles matches in his career. The final win came this past week with longtime doubles partner David Wagner at the Uniqlo Wheelchair Masters Doubles event in Orlando, where the U.S. duo finished second.

Together the partners won consecutive Paralympic gold medals in 2004, 2008 and 2012 before claiming a silver medal in 2016. Taylor also finished among the top four in singles in each of his first three Paralympics, highlighted by a bronze medal in 2012. He reached the quarterfinals in the singles competition in 2016 in Rio.

Taylor, who did not compete at this summer’s Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020, has continued to stay busy with the men’s tennis team at his alma mater, Wichita State University, where he is now the program’s director of operations. He first got involved with the team as a volunteer assistant in 2004.

“You know basically working with the program here is my life,” Taylor said a September article in The Sunflower, Wichita State’s independent, student-run publication. “When people ask me what I do for the team my basic answer is whatever it takes. Wherever I can help that year, that day, that week, that moment, that’s what I’m going to do.”

Though Taylor’s competitive tennis career is over, don’t assume you’ve seen the last of him at the Paralympic Games.

According to his retirement announcement via the USTA, he’s hoping to qualify for the Paralympic Games Paris 2024 in the sport of boccia.

Chrös McDougall

Chrös McDougall has covered the Olympic and Paralympic Movement for TeamUSA.org since 2009 on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc. He is based in Minneapolis-St. Paul.

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Nick Taylor