Paralympian Dana Mathewson Wins Historic Women’s Wheelchair Doubles Title At Wimbledon
by Chrös McDougall
(L-R) Yui Kamiji (Japan) and Dana Mathewson celebrate with their trophy following their women's wheelchair doubles final at The Championships, Wimbledon 2022 on July 10, 2022 in London.
U.S. Paralympian Dana Mathewson and partner Yui Kamiji of Japan claimed the Wimbledon women’s wheelchair doubles title on Sunday. In doing to, Mathewson not only won her first Grand Slam title but she also became the first American woman to win the event at Wimbledon.
The 31-year-old Mathewson, of San Diego, had previously reached the doubles final at the 2017 US Open but had otherwise been stopped in the quarterfinals or semifinals in all of her Grand Slam appearances as both a doubles and singles player.
Coming off her second Paralympic Games this past year in Tokyo, in which she ended in the round of 16 for singles, Mathewson fell in the quarterfinals at this year’s Australian Open and French Open singles competitions, and the semifinals in both for doubles.
Earlier this month in her Wimbledon singles debut, Mathewson met one of the sport’s all-time greats in the first round, with Dutch superstar Diede de Groot eliminating her 6-1, 6-1 in the quarterfinals.
The top-seeded De Groot has been one of the sport’s elite players, having won the previous seven Grand Slam singles titles coming into Wimbledon, and she went on to win an eighth over on Saturday.
De Groot’s attempt to win a fourth straight Grand Slam in doubles fell short at the hands of Mathewson and Kamiji.
This time Mathewson had another one of the sport’s great players on her side in Kamiji, who came into the tournament with 17 Grand Slam doubles titles to go with eight on the singles side.
Opening against No. 2 seeds Kgothatso Montjane of South Africa and Lucy Shuker of Great Britain, Mathewson and Kamiji were strong off the serve en route to a 6-4, 6-2 win.
That set up a final against the top-seeded team of de Groot and Dutch partner Aniek Van Koot, the two-time defending Paralympic gold medalist in women’s doubles (winning with de Groot in Tokyo). With the help of 16 unforced errors on the side of the Dutch team, compared to just three for Mathewson and Kamiji, they won the first set 6-1 before battling to a 7-5 victory in the second to claim the title.
In winning, Mathewson became one of two Americans to claim a championship at this year’s Wimbledon, joining Desirae Krawczyk, who won the mixed doubles title with British player Neal Skupski.
Wheelchair tennis has been contested at Wimbledon since 2006 and has grown to include six divisions: women’s singles and doubles, men’s singles and doubles, quad singles, and quad doubles.