Wheelchair Tennis Competition preview
• 5 MINUTE READ
Four Brits will contest the 2020 French Open wheelchair tennis event, with Alfie Hewett, Gordon Reid and Jordanne Whiley all looking to complete the year with a clean sweep of the three Grand Slam doubles titles available to them this season, following the cancellation of Wimbledon earlier this year.
While Hewett, Reid and Whiley are all previous champions in either singles or doubles at Roland Garros, World No.3 Andy Lapthorne will make his debut in the quad singles and doubles events after narrowly missing out on direct entry in 2019.
When does the French Open Wheelchair Tennis Event start and finish?
Four days of competition for the 2020 French Open wheelchair tennis titles begins on Wednesday 7 October, with the quest for the men’s singles and doubles, women’s singles and doubles and quad singles and doubles trophies ending on Saturday 10 October.
What’s the British history in the Wheelchair Tennis Event?
The French Open first staged a wheelchair tennis world ranking event in 2007, with quad singles and doubles added to the competition schedule in 2019.
Hewett is still the only Brit to win a wheelchair singles title on the Parisian clay, but the first British wheelchair player to win a Roland Garros title was Whiley in 2014, when she teamed up with Japan’s Yui Kamiji to win the women’s doubles.
Although they lost the 2015 final, Whiley and Kamiji bounced back to lift the women’s doubles title again in 2016. They will bid for their third French Open title together this year, having already won the 2020 Australian Open and US Open titles together.
World No.5 Whiley, a previous women’s singles semi-finalist at Roland Garros, will also bid to reach her first French Open singles final this year.
While 2016 brought a second women’s doubles title for Whiley and Kamiji, there was further Anglo-Japanese success when Reid partnered Shingo Kunieda to make it back-to-back men’s doubles victories at Roland Garros.
Reid also made his first appearance in a French Open men’s singles final in 2016, finishing runner-up to Fernandez – a result he would repeat in 2019. Reid also started 2020 as a men’s singles finalist at the Australian Open.
Hewett and Reid will aim to complete a career Grand Slam of doubles titles together in Paris this year, their French Riviera Open victory meaning that they arrive at Roland Garros unbeaten in six tournaments and 14 matches together this season.
Also looking to complete a career Grand Slam of doubles titles will be Lapthorne as he partners Dylan Alcott of Australia, the same player he’s partnered to win the last two US Open quad doubles titles and the inaugural Wimbledon quad doubles title in 2019.
All but one of Lapthorne’s previous career Grand Slam quad single challenges have begun as a four-way round-robin competition, with the top two players advancing to the final. However, the quad singles at the French Open is a knock-out draw.
Who are the main contenders?
The four Brits make up one fifth of the entrants for the French Open Wheelchair Tennis event, the full field of 20 players consisting of eight in the men’s singles and doubles, eight in the women’s singles and doubles and four players in the quad singles and doubles.
Hewett is one of four former champions in the men’s singles field as he and Reid line up alongside World No.1 and seven-time champion Kunieda, and two-time champions Fernandez and Stephane Houdet of France.
Hewett completed the perfect warm-up for his fourth French Open challenge when he beat two-time Paris champion and world No.2 Gustavo Fernandez of Argentina 6-3 7-6(6) in Saturday’s men’s singles final at the French Riviera Open, where Hewett and Reid also won the men’s doubles.
In the women’s singles, World No.5 Whiley lines up alongside four former champions – three-time champion Kamiji, reigning champion and World No.1 Diede de Groot, De Groot’s fellow Dutchwoman Marjolein Buis and Germany’s Sabine Ellerbrock.
The top four world-ranked players contest the quad singles, with Lapthorne joining World No.1 Alcott, American David Wagner and reigning US Open Sam Schroder of the Netherlands, who won last month’s title in New York on his Grand Slam debut.
What is the draw for round one?
Whiley has been drawn to play top seed Diede de Groot in the quarter-finals of the women’s singles for the second Grand Slam in a row.
In the men’s singles, Reid begins his latest French Open campaign against world No.2 and second seed Gustavo Fernandez, having played Fernandez in both the 2016 and 2019 final in Paris. Meanwhile Hewett faces Stephane Houdet of France in his opening match, where a victory would set up a semi-final against Fernandez, the player Hewett beat in the 2017 final.
Lapthorne will make his Roland Garros debut on Thursday against American world No.3 David Wagner.
How to watch and live stream Roland Garros 2020 in the UK
Fans in the UK will be able to watch the Roland Garros wheelchair tennis matches on Eurosport Player.
Open Court – get involved!
Funded by Sport England and the LTA, the Open Court Programme supports more than 500 tennis venues across Britain deliver sessions for disabled people and those with long term health conditions.
Since its launch following the London 2012 Paralympic Games, it has become one of the largest programmes of its kind across any sport.
So, if you’re a player or a parent or guardian or carer interested in finding out more, please click through to our find a venue page.