David Wagner (tennis)

David Wagner (born March 4, 1974) is an American wheelchair tennis player. Paralyzed from the mid-chest down and with thirty percent function in his hands, he competes in the Quad division. He plays by taping the tennis racket to his hand.[2] He is currently ranked number three in the world in singles and number two in doubles.[3]

David Wagner
David Wagner at the US Open 2017.jpg
Wagner at the 2017 US Open.
Country (sports) United States
ResidenceChula Vista, California
Born (1974-03-04) March 4, 1974 (age 45)
PlaysRight Handed
Official websiteOfficial website
Career record807–147 (84.6%)[1]
Career titles157
Highest rankingNo. 1 (7 April 2003)[1]
Current rankingNo. 3[1]
Grand Slam Singles results
Australian OpenW (2011, 2013, 2014)
French OpenF (2019)
US OpenW (2010, 2011, 2017)
Other tournaments
MastersW (2004, 2005, 2007, 2008, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2019)
Paralympic GamesF (2004, 2012)
Career record534–97 (84.6%)[1]
Highest rankingNo. 1 (14 October 2002)[1]
Current rankingNo. 1 (24 June 2019)
Grand Slam Doubles results
Australian OpenW (2008, 2009, 2010, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017)
French OpenW (2019)
WimbledonF (2019)
US OpenW (2007, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2017, 2018)
Other doubles tournaments
Masters DoublesW (2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2017, 2018)
Paralympic GamesW (2004, 2008, 2012)

Early lifeEdit

Wagner was born in Fullerton, California,[4] and grew up in Walla Walla, Washington.[2] He played basketball in high school and tennis in college. He became a quadriplegic at age 21 while visiting a friend in Redondo Beach, California, during summer break. He and his friends were playing frisbee on the beach and Wagner began chasing after the frisbee through shallow water. He attempted to jump over a wave, but the wave caught his feet, spun him around, and he landed head-first in the sand, leaving him paralyzed.[5] He took a year off of college and began practicing table tennis as part of his rehabilitation. He won a national competition in that sport three years in a row, from 1997 to 1999.[2]

Tennis careerEdit

David Wagner at the 2017 US Open
David Wagner at the 2017 NEC Wheelchair Tennis Masters
David Wagner at the 2017 BNP Open de France

In 1999, at age 25, he attended a wheelchair tennis training camp set up by Rick Draney, then the top-ranked quadriplegic tennis player in the world. Wagner immediately loved the sport and by 2002 was the number one ranked U.S. quadriplegic player.[2]

In 2002, Wagner reached number one in the ITF world rankings in quad doubles, and in 2003 he reached number one in the quad singles world rankings as well. The 2004 Summer Paralympics were the first Paralympic Games to include the Quad division. Wagner won the gold medal in Quad Doubles with partner Nick Taylor and the silver medal in singles.[6]

In 2007, he participated in the first Quad competition held at the U.S. Open, winning doubles with Taylor and taking second place in singles behind Peter Norfolk.[7] Wagner had urged the United States Tennis Association to include a quadriplegic division at the event; the U.S. Open was the first of the Grand Slam tournaments to do so. The Australian Open followed suit the next year, with Wagner finishing runner-up in singles, and winning doubles with Taylor.[8] The US Open and the Australian Open were the only Grand Slams to offer a Quad wheelchair tennis draw, until 2019. The first Quad Wheelchair Doubles exhibition event was held at Wimbledon in 2018. Wagner won the event, partnering Andy Lapthorne.[9]. Later that year, Wimbledon announced that they would offer a singles and doubles quad draw as of 2019.[10] Roland Garros followed with a similar announcement a few months later.[11] Wagner, partnering Alcott, won the inaugural Roland Garros Quad Doubles draw.

At the 2008 Beijing Paralympics, Wagner and Taylor won gold in doubles and competed against each other in the bronze medal match of the singles event, with Wagner taking the match and the medal.[6] At the 2012 London Paralympics, Wagner and Taylor won one more gold medal in doubles, defeating the British team of Andy Lapthorne and Peter Norfolk in the final. Wagner also won a silver medal in singles. At the final, he played against Israel's Noam Gershony. At the 2016 Summer Paralympics Wagner clinched two more medals, a Silver in Quad Doubles and a Bronze in Quad Singles.

According to ITF world rankings, Wagner has been consistently ranked in the top three of the Quad division, in both singles and doubles, since 2002. He has finished as Year-End Number 1 a total of eight times in singles, as well as fourteen times in doubles, as of December 2017.[1] Wagner had been crowned doubles champion at every U.S. Open Quad Doubles draw, since the Grand Slam started offering a Quad Draw, in 2007, until 2019, when Wagner with partner Bryan Barten lost to Alcott and Lapthorne.

Besides competing, Wagner is often invited to teach in wheelchair camps and clinics in the United States, where he encourages both kids and adults to become involved with the sport.[12]


Wagner graduated with an elementary education degree in 2000. In 2001, when he had to choose between teaching and playing tennis, he decided to become a full time wheelchair tennis player.[13][14] From 2006 until 2014 he lived in Hillsboro, Oregon, and then moved to Chula Vista, California.[15] He trains at the Chula Vista Elite Athlete Training Center, (formerly Chula Vista Olympic Training Center) where he is the only tennis player in residence.[16]


  1. ^ a b c d e f "David Wagner". International Tennis Federation website. Archived from the original on 10 September 2018. Retrieved 19 September 2019.
  2. ^ a b c d Herzog, Boaz (July 20, 2008). "Wheelchair tennis star wants gold this time". The Oregonian. Archived from the original on March 3, 2016. Retrieved 2008-10-28.
  3. ^ "ITF Wheelchair Tennis Rankings". itftennis.com. International Tennis Federation. Archived from the original on October 18, 2019. Retrieved January 29, 2015.
  4. ^ "Wagner, David – Biography". International Tennis Federation. Archived from the original on 2007-12-16. Retrieved 2008-10-28.
  5. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2018-01-04. Retrieved 2018-01-03.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  6. ^ a b Results for david wagner from the International Paralympic Committee (archived)
  7. ^ "Scores & Stats". United States Tennis Association. 2007. Archived from the original on 2008-10-18. Retrieved 2008-10-31.
  8. ^ "2008 Australian Open Finals". Tennis Australia. 2008. Archived from the original on 2008-10-28. Retrieved 2008-10-31.
  9. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2018-08-23. Retrieved 2018-09-05.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  10. ^ https://www.tennisfoundation.org.uk/wimbledon-announce-new-quad-wheelchair-singles-and-doubles-events/
  11. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2019-02-14. Retrieved 2019-11-27.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  12. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2018-01-04. Retrieved 2018-01-03.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  13. ^ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VRvH4uJFmIk
  14. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2017-12-22. Retrieved 2017-12-20.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  15. ^ Smith, Jeff (June 3, 2014). "Former Hillsboro resident David Wagner helps U.S. wheelchair tennis team win silver medal at World Team Cup". The Oregonian. Archived from the original on 7 June 2014. Retrieved 5 June 2014.
  16. ^ Rice Epstein, Jennifer (September 5, 2015). "David Wagner is America's Most Decorated Men's Tennis Player. So Why Hasn't Anyone Heard of Him?". Vice. Archived from the original on 4 January 2018. Retrieved 2 January 2018.

External linksEdit

Preceded by
Peter Norfolk
Peter Norfolk
Peter Norfolk
Dylan Alcott
Year End Number 1 – Quad Singles
Succeeded by
Peter Norfolk
Peter Norfolk
Dylan Alcott
Dylan Alcott
Preceded by
Shraga Weinberg
Year End Number 1 – Quad Doubles
Succeeded by