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Best of 2016: Golden moment for U.S. wheelchair juniors

December 18, 2016 11:38 AM

As 2016 draws to a close, USTA.com is taking a look back at the top storylines, headlines and highlights from the year in American tennis. Visit our Year in Review homepage to see our complete Top 10.

By E.J. Crawford, USTA.com

The future of American wheelchair tennis shined bright in 2016, with the U.S. juniors defending their title at the World Team Cup, the most prestigious team event in wheelchair tennis.

Team USA won a surprise title in 2015, upending powerhouse Netherlands on its way to the crown. In 2016, the members of the squad – Chris Herman, Casey Ratzlaff and Conner Stroud – proved that victory was no fluke, going 3-0 in pool play and then defeating, in succession, Russia, South Africa and Chile to claim a second championship.

The victory was the standout moment in a stirring year for American wheelchair tennis. Quad champion David Wagner continued his excellence by winning bronze in singles and silver in doubles (with longtime partner Nick Taylor) at the Paralympic Games in Rio and closing out the year with an astounding ninth NEC Wheelchair Masters title.

Not to be outdone, on the 40th anniversary of wheelchair tennis, the father of the sport, American Brad Parks, received the International Tennis Federation’s highest honor: the Philippe Chatrier Award.

It was a fitting celebration of the U.S.’s proud record in the sport, all while its youngest members made it known that they’re ready to create some new history in the years to come.