After finishing eighth last year, two San Diego players — Dana Mathewson and Lauren Haneke-Hopps – helped their team earn the bronze medal with a 2-0 victory over Switzerland at the recent BNP Paribas World Team Cup, an international wheelchair tennis event.
With the victory, the U.S. women returned to the World Team Cup medal podium for the first time since finishing as runner-up in 2003.
The World Team Cup is the ITF’s flagship wheelchair tennis event, often referred to as the Davis Cup and Fed Cup of wheelchair tennis.
The closing ceremony was a momentous occasion for women’s head coach Paul Walker, who credited the depth of talent in U.S. women’s wheelchair tennis afterward. The women’s team was without two of its top players for the trip to Italy
“I am so very proud of these girls this week,” said Walker. “We started out ranked 10 in the tournament and ended up with a medal.”
“Team USA exceeded my expectations this year,” said USTA National Wheelchair tennis coach Jason Harnett. “I could not be more proud of how hard and how passionate all three of our teams played. The women placing third after more than 10 years off the medal stand is absolutely phenomenal. The junior team with the hat trick of junior titles is something that I only dreamed of. The quads getting back to the medal stand also showed the heart that these guys have. Truly a great World Team Cup for team USA.”
After finishing outside the Top 12 at last year’s event, the men’s team was relegated to the World Team Cup qualifying event earlier this year in March in Quito, Ecuador. After finishing as the runners-up to Brazil, the men will have to wait until 2018 for a shot to win the World Team Cup qualifying event to make it back into the World Group.
The World Team Cup tournament brings together the world’s best wheelchair tennis players to compete in one of the world’s premier tennis team events. A total of 40 teams representing 29 countries took part in the 2017 competition.
The USTA was officially designated by the USOC as the national governing body for the Paralympic sport of wheelchair tennis in June 2002, becoming the first Olympic national governing body to earn this recognition. As the national governing body for wheelchair tennis, the USTA manages wheelchair tennis in the United States, including the sanctioning of tournaments, overseeing wheelchair rankings, creating and managing a High Performance program for developing elite disabled athletes, and selecting teams to compete internationally for the United States.