Brits face tough draws in Wheelchair events
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Britain’s Gordon Reid will face Japan’s World No.1 Shingo Kunieda and Alfie Hewett will play World No. 4 Joachim Gerard when five players on the LTA’s Wheelchair Performance Pathway begin their Wimbledon challenges on Thursday.
Reid and Lucy Shuker are both up against top seeded players in the men’s and women’s singles draws, with Shuker set to face two-time Wimbledon champion Diede de Groot and Jordanne Whiley set to open her account against 2019 women’s singles champion Aniek van Koot.
While Shuker and Whiley both face Dutch challenges, so does Andy Lapthorne in the quad singles after the World No.2 was drawn to meet reigning US Open champion Sam Schroder.
Reid, winner of the inaugural Wimbledon men’s wheelchair singles title in 2016, prepared for his latest challenge at The Championships by defeating 2019 Wimbledon winner Gustavo Fernandez in straight sets to win the wheelchair title at the cinch Championships last month.
“I think you only need to look at past results and see how many of the guys in the top 10 have beaten each other over the last couple of years,” he said. “We all know there are no easy draws and you’ve got to be ready to go straight away.”
Hewett won his third French Open men’s singles title last month to move to No.2 in the world rankings ahead of Fernandez. Hewett begins his sixth Wimbledon as second seed for the men’s singles, having also beaten Gerard in his quarter-final at Roland Garros.
Hewett and Reid are due to open their bid for a fourth Wimbledon men’s doubles title against Fernandez and Kunieda on Friday. The 11-time Grand Slam champions return to The Championships as the most successful all-British doubles partnership in Grand Slam history. winning their second Australian Open second French Open titles this season, defeating Fernandez and Kunieda in the semi-finals of both tournaments.
World No.4 Whiley has won all four of her singles matches against world No.3 Van Koot since the 19-year-old Brit returned to international competition in 2019 following maternity leave. Whiley, who will partner Japan’s Yui Kamiji later this week in a bid for their fifth Wimbledon doubles title together, said:
“I wasn’t too concerned about the draw, I’m just happy I’m not playing Yui or Diede at a Grand Slam again, to be honest. It’s just nice to play someone different and me and Aniek always have really great matches, so I’m just looking forward to playing her.”
Whiley and Kamiji, who have also won 11 Grand Slam titles together, will play Angelica Bernal of Colombia and Japan’s Momoko Ohtani in their doubles semi-final this year.
Should Whiley beat Van Koot in Thursday’s quarter-final at Wimbledon she will go on to play the winner of the contest between Shuker and world No.1 De Groot.
World No.11 Shuker made her Wimbledon debut in 2009, when she reached the first of four Wimbledon doubles finals to date.
Shuker partners South Africa’s Kgothatso Montjane in the women’s doubles this year as the duo bid to reach their second Grand Slam final of 2021. In February they were runners-up at the Australian Open to De Groot and Van Koot, the same partnership they play in this year’s Wimbledon semi-finals.
Lapthorne makes his second appearance at Wimbledon after quad singles and doubles events made their debut at The Championships in 2019, when the 30-year was a singles finalist and won the inaugural Wimbledon quad doubles title partnering Australia’s Dylan Alcott.
This year Lapthorne and Alcott are on opposite sides of the net in both singles and doubles, as world No.2 Lapthorne will be with world No.3 ranked Dutchman Schroder.
Lapthorne will partner American David Wagner in a bid to win their second successive Grand Slam doubles title together.
Already three-time Australian Open and two-time US Open doubles champions, Lapthorne and Wagner won their first French Open title last month, beating Alcott and Schroder in a deciding match tie-break as Lapthorne completed his career Grand Slam of doubles titles.
Lapthorne said: “When you get to a Grand Slam and have the top four players in the world then no draw is going be easy. Sam is going to be a tough opponent but I’m looking forward to the challenge and to trying to add another Wimbledon doubles title.”