Surprise ends Rydberg’s World Team CupEast Ridge head girls tennis coach Jon Rydberg represented the United States at the 2011 World Team Cup from April 25 to May 1 in Pretoria, South Africa. However, the trip didn’t go quite as expected.
By: Patrick Johnson, Staff Writer, Woodbury Bulletin
East Ridge head girls tennis coach Jon Rydberg represented the United States at the 2011 World Team Cup from April 25 to May 1 in Pretoria, South Africa.
However, the trip didn’t go quite as expected.
After finishing in second place in World Group 2 play, the U.S. men’s wheelchair tennis team defeated Thailand, 2-0, in a promotion/relegation match that put the U.S. into World Group 1 next year, which Rydberg said was the team’s goal.
Rydberg, who was injured in an accident when he was 13 months old and uses a wheelchair, didn’t play in the team’s two matches, however, because he was on a plane home after his wife went into labor, giving birth to the couple’s first child, Atticus.
“My wife called me while I was warming up with my opponent from Chile in the semifinals,” Rydberg said. “I had our organizational staff start looking for flights home immediately. I ended up finishing the match, because I told them to not come get me unless I had a flight to catch. The flight wasn’t for 11 hours later unfortunately, and after a 30-hour trip back home, I missed the birth our son Atticus by almost a full day. But, everyone is healthy and happy. It was an interesting trip to say the least, thanks to a earlier-than-expected little boy.”
Last fall, Rydberg got back into competitive tennis, playing in the US Open. Since then, he’s kept busy in hope of regaining the form that had him ranked as the No. 1 wheelchair tennis player in the country in years past. The hard work paid dividends with Rydberg’s selection to the World Team Cup men’s team.
Often referred to as the wheelchair tennis equivalent of pro tennis’ Davis Cup and Fed Cup competitions, the World Team Cup tournament brings the world’s best wheelchair tennis players together to compete for national pride in one of the world’s premier tennis team events. More than 200 players from more than 30 nations participated in the 2011 event in South Africa.
Prior to the World Team Cup, Rydberg played in the US Open, finished in second place in both singles and doubles at the Arizona Desert Classic in Tucson in February and was the singles and doubles champion in the Windsor Classic in Windsor Ontario, Canada in March.
Rydberg said he hopes to qualify for the next Pan American Games, which will be held in October of 2011 in Guadalajara, Mexico. Rydberg is the defending gold medalist at the games, but to qualify for the tournament for the US team, a player must be ranked as one of the top two players in the country. He is currently ranked sixth in the U.S.
With East Ridge, Rydberg will meet with the team this spring and then begin summer clinics the second week of June.
“I’m looking forward to getting out on the court with them again this summer,” Rydberg had said before the World Team Cup. “It’s fun to play my own stuff, but it’s fun to watch the team improve too.”