Dana Mathewson poses for a portrait during the Team USA Tokyo 2020 Olympics shoot on Nov. 19, 2019 in West Hollywood, Calif.
American tennis star Dana Mathewson’s says not much has changed in her life since she won the Wimbledon wheelchair doubles title two months ago. She’s still training hard and doing everything she can to prep for this month’s U.S. Open.
But really, some big things have changed in Mathewson’s life since July.
The Wimbledon win, with partner Yui Kamiji of Japan, marked her first Grand Slam title. It was also the first championship for an American woman in the Wimbledon wheelchair doubles event.
She’s obviously thrilled to add the major to her growing resume, though Mathewson views it as something bigger in the grand scheme. Her life is changing because of increasing opportunity and visibility, both on and off the court, for her tennis career.
Wheelchair tennis is one of the few Para sports contested directly alongside able-bodied tournaments, using the same facilities. Now Mathewson, along with eight-time Paralympic quad tennis medalist David Wagner, want to push the sport further, in their own ways, through their success and hard work.
“I want people to look at me and realize I am a tennis player, and this is my job,” said Mathewson, a 31-year-old native of San Diego. “I am dedicating my life, right now, to taking this as far as I can go. I want to be the best. I am so focused.”
Mathewson called winning Wimbledon “a dream come true,” but notes that she had been close to major championships in the past, most notably at the 2017 U.S. Open when she reached the doubles final.
“Saying I won Wimbledon feels really good,” she said. “But now it is back to the beginning with the U.S. Open. We all want to win it.”
Founded in 1976, wheelchair tennis — which includes an open class, and a quad class for athletes with additional impairments in the playing arm — has been a Paralympic medal sport since 1992. In 2007, the French Open added wheelchair events, giving the sport a presence at all four Grand Slams.
The growth has continued.