British Open Wheelchair Championships logo

21 - 26 July 2020

British Open Wheelchair Tennis Championships

Nottingham Tennis Centre

British Open preview: The world’s best wheelchair tennis players get set to descend on Nottingham

  • ITF logo
  • 16/07/2019

  • News

Britain’s leading wheelchair tennis players will be mixing it with the best players on the planet at the 30th British Open in Nottingham next week.

The fifth of six ‘Super Series’ events staged around the world, the tournament is now one of the leading competitions on the international wheelchair tennis calendar outside of the Grand Slams.

This year’s field features 11 Brits among the 64 players competing, and is arguably the strongest ever assembled with almost all of the world’s top 40 players across the men, women and quad divisions in action – including those who starred at Wimbledon last week. Providing an added edge, crucial ranking points are at stake this year as players vie to secure qualification for next year’s Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games. 

The LTA has invested in making the event free for all spectators, with another record crowd expected at Nottingham Tennis Centre to watch the world class tennis action over the course of the week. The move is part of our ambition to open up the sport to many more people, showcase the performances of the leading British players, and raise the profile of tennis as a sport for disabled people. The action gets underway on Tuesday 23 July and runs until Sunday 28 July, with finals taking place on both the Saturday and Sunday.

Alongside the main draw, there are once again tournaments for juniors and for up and coming players looking to progress towards international competition, as well as a free ‘Come & Try’ session on Saturday 27 July where anyone have a go at playing tennis in a wheelchair!

Men’s Draw: Reid and Hewett aim to make history

No British man has ever won the British Open title but Norfolk’s Alfie Hewett and Scotland’s Gordon Reid will be hoping to change that this year. Both are previous finalists at the event, and having been the winner and runner-up respectively at Queen’s last month they will be aiming for more success on home soil.

To achieve that they will have to overcome the challenge of a cast of current and previous Grand Slam champions – including last week’s Wimbledon winner and new world No.1 Gustavo Fernandez of Argentina. Also in the field will be one of the all-time greats of wheelchair tennis, Shingo Kunieda of Japan, as well as French duo Stephane Houdet and Nicolas Peifer, Belgium’s Joachim Gerrard and Sweden’s Stefan Olsson.

Northamptonshire’s Dermot Bailey has his sights firmly set on being part of the British team in Tokyo, and will be hoping a home crowd can help him continue his progress up the world rankings.

One of the highlights of the event will be the men’s doubles, with Hewett and Reid joining together once again for a partnership that has seen them become one of the best pairings in the world.

Women’s Draw: Whiley and Shuker lead British challenge

World top 10 players Jordanne Whiley and Lucy Shuker will be aiming for glory in the women’s event, with the two-time Paralympic doubles bronze medallists each having been previous Super Series singles title winners. For former winner Whiley, it will be a first return to the British Open since 2016 after becoming a mum at the end of January 2018.

Aiming to defend her title in Nottingham will be world No.1 and holder of three of the four Grand Slam singles titles, Diede De Groot of the Netherlands. The 22-year-old made history earlier this year by becoming the first wheelchair player to hold singles title at all four Grand Slams at the same time.

Among her leading challengers in Nottingham will be countrywoman and her conqueror in the Wimbledon final last week, Aniek van Koot, and Japanese star Yui Kamiji. Of the sport’s current top three ranked women’s players, Van Koot is the only one to yet add her name to the British Open roll of honour.

Quad Draw: Lapthorne aiming for first title

Last week was an historic one for Quad wheelchair tennis, which is for players who have a permanent physical disability that results in significant loss of function in three or more limbs, as Wimbledon staged its first ever quad events.

Lifting the Wimbledon doubles title there was a special moment for Londoner and world No.3 Andy Lapthorne, who will be aiming to claim his first British Open singles title having reached four of the last five finals in Nottingham.

It’s a huge tournament for local star James Shaw, who learnt to play tennis on the courts of Nottingham Tennis Centre and now trains there. Shaw, along with fellow Brits Antony Cotterill and Richard Green, is targeting a rise up the world rankings to earn a place at Tokyo 2020, with every win at the British Open helping to make that dream become close to reality.

Competition for the title in Nottingham will come from South Africa’s Lucas Sithole, Japan’s Koji Sugeno, Dutch 19-year-old Sam Schroder and Australia’s Heath Davidson. Sithole, whose 2013 British Open victory saw him become the first African player to win a Super Series title, remains one of the sport’s most colourful and iconic characters.

Catch courtside action 

Watch world class tennis in Nottingham and secure your seat today for free. If you can’t make it in person, there will be live streaming on the BBC Sport website for the last four days of the tournament.

Fans can also keep up-to-date with all the latest news and behind-the-scenes action on the LTA website and on TwitterFacebook and Instagram