Nick Taylor brings Paralympic experience to Tennis program

The process of elimination worked out for Nicholas Taylor when trying to find a sport to play before his freshman year of high school. Taylor began hitting tennis balls against a garage door when he was 13 years old. From there, the rest is history. 

Taylor is a Wichita native who graduated from Wichita West High School in 1998. After high school, he graduated with a masters degree in Sports Management from Wichita State University. 

He has been involved with the Wichita State Men’s Tennis program since 2004. He has held the title of Volunteer Assistant and Director of Operations. However, he described his role in the tennis program as a utility baseball player, meaning he is willing to fill many shoes to make the program successful. 

“You know basically working with the program here is my life,” Taylor said. “When people ask me what I do for the team my basic answer is whatever it takes. Wherever I can help that year, that day, that week, that moment, that’s what I’m going to do.” 

However, if you have been following the Paralympic Games these past few years, you probably know him as a paralympian in wheelchair tennis for the United States of America. Taylor has been to five paralympic games for the United States and has 11 grand slam titles. He has won three gold medals in doubles, one silver in doubles, and one bronze in singles. 

Taylor said some of his favorite memories that come from the games is the opening ceremony because it represents a defining moment for him in his tennis career. 

“It’s a moment and a feeling that there’s just no way to describe,” Taylor said.“It’s a culmination of years and years of work and sacrifice and not only from yourself but from coaches you know friends family, you know so many different people that got you there and it just kind of hits you that you are there and who you are representing. It’s not that you are just representing yourself.” 

Taylor is just one of two people from Wichita that have represented the United States in wheelchair tennis. Casey Ratzlaff is also a Wichita State graduate who represented the United States in the 2020 Paralympic games in Tokyo. Wichita is considered a smaller city compared to some other cities in the United States. This is an important factor that Taylor considers when sending olympians and paralympians to the games. 

“I’m a very very patriotic person when it comes to the United States. I love Kansas, I love Wichita, I love Wichita State, and you know that means a lot to me to not only represent the country but the city, the state [and] the school,” Taylor said. “There are not a lot of cities in the world that can say they keep putting out olympians or paralympians in the same sport.”