Disability Advocates Aren’t Happy That A Man Standing Up From His Wheelchair At The Australian Open Was Called A “Miracle”

Advocates have pointed out that people use wheelchairs for a range of reasons and that not all wheelchair users are paralysed.

1. A man has jumped out of his wheelchair after Roger Federer hit an unbelievable shot in his three sets to one loss against Novak Djokovic at the Australian Open semifinals.

2. The moment occurred after Federer managed to get onto the end of a particularly slight touch from Djokovic.

Channel 7

3. You can see the man on the bottom left in this GIF.

Channel 7

4. Social media was quick to respond, praising Federer’s “miracle shot.”

Wow. Even a man in his wheelchair stood up to applaud that Federer point. Lordy lord it's a miracle! #AusOpen

— Michael Hincks (@MichaelHincks)

7. Disability advocates are offended by coverage of this moment as a “miracle”.

@DailyMailAU @AustralianOpen if people would stop using the term wheelchair bound you'd realise this is offensive. We're not all paralysed

— nopermitnopark (@NoPermitNoPark)

.@simoncrerar @braddybb @BuzzFeedOz it's not cool to suggest someone has no mobility until a tennis star "cures" them #disability

— Carly Findlay (@carlyfindlay)

Ableism @BuzzFeed. Thoroughly disappointing. Some wheelchair users can stand and even walk very short distances. https://t.co/Bk9wqtsguz

— cherry, ☃ (@cherryrae)

@VictorIkoli Wow, you're not only an expert in religious phenomenae but also a clairvoyant that knows why the guy's in a chair #genius

— Comrade Weez (@weezmgk)

@DailyMailAU @MailOnline Oh good grief - many wheelie people can stand and walk short distances! This isn't news!

— Bill Kruse (@billkruse)


This story has been updated to include comment from disability advocates and to reflect BuzzFeed’s editorial standards for reporting on disability.

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Brad Esposito is a news reporter for BuzzFeed and is based in Sydney, Australia.
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