I first want to apologize for my tardiness on writing this but sometimes there just isn't enough time in a day. I have a moment so let me tell you what our Quads did on the tennis court at the 2012 Paralympics.
First of all the three members of the USA Quad wheelchair tennis team were awesome. Let us start with Bryan Barten. Bryan has been on a big stage before with being a member of the USA World Cup team before but this was his dream. The Paralympics! Bryan did great winning his first match at the Paralymics against Marco Innocenti 6-3/6-4. It was all over Facebook and of course we let you know about it right here on Wheels in Motion. Then Bryan faced a guy who was on a mission, Noam Gershony of Israel. Bryan lost that match 1-6/1-6, but the rest of the story on this match, Noam ended up winning the gold medal for Israel. That loss however doesn't reflect the great year he had. Bryan would tell you that he had his best year, if not his best last two years on the tour. Bryan Barten made the whole quad tennis community stop and take notice. Bryan did this well while being the coach for the University of Arizona wheelchair tennis team. I know Bryan and if there was ever a guy who deserved this moment on this stage, it was him. I don't know where Bryan will be in three years when Brazil comes up but I can tell you this he was on a stage that was rightfully earned. To my mentor in wheelchair tennis, GREAT JOB B!
Now for the other two members of the Quad team. Nick Taylor and David Wagner. Just saying their names is a statement all on its own. Let’s take a look at what they did individually and then later what they did together. Let’s start with Nick.
Nick Taylor even though many doubts keeps on winning and putting on a great show on the biggest of stages. Nick in his first round of play went against Shota Kawano of Japan and won 6-1/7-5. This put Nick into the Quarterfinals where he faced a familiar opponent in Anders Hard of Sweden, where he took Nick to three sets but Nick was victorious 6-4/4-6/6-1. That win put Nick into the Semifinals where he faced a guy he knows all too well, David Wagner, his doubles partner. As Nick said he just knows all to well how to take advantage of my weaknesses. Nick lost 2-6/1-6. But that loss put Nick into the Bronze medal match where he faced Shraga Weinberg of Israel. Nick again pushed to the limits, but as Nick does he found a way after losing the first set 1-6 to propel himself to the win in three sets, winning the next two sets, 6-3/6-4. So to proudly say Nick Taylor won himself a Bronze medal. Congrats Nick!!
Then we get to the number one quad in the USA and the World, David Wagner. Wagner started with a match that more than likely surprised him. A tough opponent in Lucas Sithole from South Africa was waiting for Wagner in the first round of play. Wagner cruised through the first set with a 6-2 win. However the South African came at him in the second set and pushed Wagner, however even with Sithole playing Wagner tough, Wagner came away with a 7-5 win in the second set to send him to the Quarter-Finals. In the Quarter finals, Wagner faced Boaz Kramer of Israel and Wagner made quick work of his opponent winning in straight sets, 6-3/6-0. This win put him in the Semi-finals against an opponent he knows better than anyone, his doubles Partner Nick Taylor of the USA, if you read the above on Nick you know the outcome, but just incase you missed the score, it was Wagner in straight sets, 6-2/6-1. This win put Wagner in the Finals of the 2012 Paralympics. Wagner faced a man on a mission in Noam Gershony of Israel. It was Wagner’s hope to win a Gold in singles but Gershony denied him that Gold as Wagner lost in straight sets, 3-6/1-6. But still the number one player in the world ended his singles campaign with a Silver medal. Great job Wags.
As play indicated these three guys did great in singles and ended the Paralympics with a Silver and Bronze medal for the USA.
Let’s get to doubles now. It was suppose to end the way it did for the USA or least it ended the way the USA had hoped. Taylor and Wagner going into the Paralympics were the best in the world and getting that bye into the Semi-Finals proved that. In the Semi-finals they faced a team from Israel that is fastly becoming one of the best but to be the best you have to beat them however team Israel made up of Gershony and Weinberg were not good enough on this day to take the kings down, Taylor and Wagner beat them, 6-3/7-6. This put them in the finals against the very next best team in the world from host country GBR, Lapthorne and Norfolk. Taylor and Wagner came out fast winning the first set, 6-2. However Lapthorne and Norfolk were not going to go down without fight and they win the second set, 5-7. So the Gold medal match would come down to the final set, which it should have. Taylor and Wagner were just too much for Lapthorne and Norfolk to overcome and not even the home crowd could help their doubles team to a victory. Taylor and Wagner win the third set in convincing style 6-2. Taylor and Wagner win Gold. They not only win Gold, but they set a mark that may never be matched. They won back to back to back Gold medals. I believe this picture shows just how much this win meant to both of them.
From Wheels in Motion, congratulations on winning three Gold Medals in a row.