Players in town for U.S. Open Wheelchair Tennis Championships

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ST. LOUIS, MO (KTVI)– Lucy Shuker came all the way from England in order to play some tennis Tuesday in Forest Park.

“It’s one of the hardest things,” says Lucy Shuker.  “You hit a ball, and you have to figure out what part of the court to cover more so than the other.”

Shuker is one of 85 professional tennis players in St. Louis this week for the U.S. Open Wheelchair Tennis Championships.

“We do have the very best in the world the Serena Williams and Rafael Nadal of the wheelchair community,” says Greg Gelzinnis, president of the Gateway Confluence Wheelchair Sports Foundation.  “We have players here from 20 different countries.  We have Olympic gold medalists.”

Tuesday play began at the Dwight Davis tennis center as temperatures soared. And for some players like French athlete Francois Trawalter, the sun is a serious topic.

“Some of our Quad players in all of this heat have lost the ability to sweat,” says Gelzinnis.  “So you see people out spraying.”

“It’s very hot for me to play against players who sweat,” says Francois Trawalter.  “Like this morning I played against a player who sweats and like I have to tape my racket to my hand cause otherwise I cannot hit the ball.”

In wheelchair tennis the ball is allowed to bounce twice, but you won’t see that happen very often with these players.

After all, they take this game very seriously as it’s taken them to new heights emotionally and physically.

“You know you’re in Australia in January, the Far East, America and Europe, and it’s great,” says Shuker.  “I never have traveled as much as I have in one year as I would have done in a lifetime.”

And it’s all thanks to a game that’s leveled the clay courts for many.

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