Serena Williams during a practice session ahead of the 2022 U.S. Open on Aug. 28, 2022 in the Queens borough of New York City.
While Serena Williams is closing one chapter of tennis history with her farewell tournament when the 2022 U.S. Open begins on Monday, a new chapter is opening for another set of competitors.
This year’s event, which runs Aug. 29 through Sept. 11, will make history with an expanded wheelchair field, featuring the largest field of athletes in Grand Slam history, and the first-ever junior wheelchair Grand Slam event. The men’s and women’s wheelchair singles fields will double in size to 16 players and eight doubles teams in each draw.
The expansion of the wheelchair tournament is the latest step in the USTA’s commitment to the inclusive growth of tennis. In 2021 the U.S. Open quad draw expanded from four to eight competitors, while the national governing body has made steps to integrate wheelchair operations throughout the organization.
“It is so hard to believe how far wheelchair tennis has come from when we first started playing in the mid-1970s,” said Brad Parks, a co-founder of wheelchair tennis and International Tennis Hall of Famer. “Never did I think the day would come when wheelchair tennis would have a full draw at the U.S. Open playing alongside the world's greatest professional players. In addition, having the world's top junior wheelchair tennis players playing alongside the world's best able-bodied junior tennis players is beyond incredible.”
The wheelchair competition will take place from Sept. 7-11 during the second week of the main draw. The U.S. contingent will be highlighted by Dana Mathewson, David Wagner, Casey Ratzlaff and Jason Keatseangsilp. Wagner leads the group with eight Paralympic medals, three U.S. Open singles and nine doubles titles to his name, while Mathewson is fresh off becoming the first American woman to win a major title when she won doubles at Wimbledon this summer.
In the open draw, 15 American women and 13 men earned direct entry, including 23-time Grand Slam champion and six-time U.S. Open winner Williams, who will be playing in what’s expected to be her final career tournament at the professional level. It will be her 21st U.S. Open appearance.
Williams, 40, is unseeded and ranked No. 608 in the world after playing sparingly so far in 2022. The four-time Olympic champ opens Monday against another unseeded player, Danka Kovinic of Montenegro.