In this new weekly feature we’ll round up the results from our British wheelchair tennis stars competing around the globe.
This may be the first article in this new series but the season is well underway with one Grand Slam and a host of other tournaments already completed. Before delving into last week’s action we’ll quickly review the year so far.
The standout story of the opening month was Gordon Reid’s Australian Open title. In winning his first singles Grand Slam, he became the first ever British male to claim a men’s singles wheelchair Grand Slam title. He almost made it a double celebration as well, but fell just short in the doubles alongside his Japanese partner.
Reid came agonisingly close to another two titles in the Super Series event in Sydney just two weeks earlier. He lost the singles and then then the doubles final in quick succession alongside British partner Alfie Hewitt.
There was success in Sydney though for Jamie Burdekin and Andy Lapthorne who sealed the Quads Doubles title, whilst Lapthorne was edged out in the final of the singles.
However, Lapthorne did claim a singles title at the ITF 2 Series in Melbourne, knocking out the top seed on the way. There was also success for Louise Hunt in this event who claimed the doubles title alongside her South African partner Kgothatso Montjane.
The only other British title came for Reid and Hewitt in Brisbane where they did manage to claim a title in the second week of the season in another ITF 2 Series event.
Just the two tournaments this week including the first of eight tournaments held in the UK with an ITF 3 event in Preston.
The main event this week was the ABN AMRO Tournament held in Rotterdam alongside the ATP 500 tournament. The only Brit to travel to the Netherlands was man-of-the-hour Gordon Reid.
The fourth-seed defeated South African wildcard Evans Maripa in the quarter-finals after receiving a bye in the first round. In the semi-final, the Scot recovered from a set down to defeat the world #1 Stephane Houdet and book himself a spot in the final against his tournament doubles partner, Stefan Olsson. Reid dispatched the world #10 in straight sets to claim his first title in Rotterdam and extend his winning run to six straight matches.
Unsurprisingly there were more Brits in attendance in Preston with British players claiming the top seeding in both the Men’s, Women’s and Quads events.
In the Men’s event Mark McCarroll was the top seed in the 16-man draw whilst David Phillipson took the fourth seeding and Dermot Bailey rounded out the British trio. All three successfully navigated the first round with McCarroll and Phillipson living up to their seeding and progressing to the semi-finals, with Phillipson defeating Bailey along the way.
McCarroll was upset by the third seed Daniel Caverzaschi but Phillipson was able to make his second successive Preston final as he looked to defend his title. Unfortunately the Brit fell just short, losing to Caverzaschi 4-6 6-2 3-6.
It was to be double disappointment for the British men as McCarroll lost in the final of the doubles alongside American partner Steve Baldwin. Bailey and Phillipson teamed up too but went out in the semi-finals.
In the ladies draw only two of the nine British ladies made it through the first round as Sarah Gaisford, Valerie Fisher, Caroline MacDonald, Debbie Brazier, Luiz Esperanza Merry, Andrea Weston, and Deena Webster all exited without winning a set between them.
The two remaining players, Helen Bond, and top seed Louise Hunt both progressed through to the quarter-finals but it was there that British interest ended as both players were knocked out.
All nine players were also in action in doubles action with Louise Hunt and her Australian partner, Sarah Calati, advancing the furthest as they made it to the semi-finals.
There was to be some British success on home soil though as top seed Jamie Burdekin surged to the Quads title, conceding just fourteen games in four matches on route to the title.
The UNIQLO Wheelchair Tennis Tour returns to Britain this week with an ITF 2 in Bolton the flagship event. We are likely to see the bulk of British interest here as the other events are futures events scattered across Africa and South America.