Wimbledon | British Wheelchair quartet draw seeds
Brits Jordanne Whiley, Alfie Hewett, Gordon Reid and Andy Lapthorne have all been drawn against one of the top two seeds in each of the men’s, women’s and quad singles wheelchair draws, which begin on Thursday at The Championships, Wimbledon.
I’m looking forward to the challenge of playing Shingo for the first time competitively on grass. He is top seed for a reason, but I feel I have the game to cause him a lot of problems on this surface.” Gordon Reid
Ten-time Grand Slam champion Whiley will begin her first Wimbledon ladies’ singles campaign since 2017 with a contest against her doubles partner and world No.2 Yui Kamiji of Japan, as the two meet at The Championships for the very first time. The last time they met at a Grand Slam was in the 2015 US Open final, a contest that Whiley won in three sets for her only Grand Slam singles title to date.
World No.8 Whiley, who last played at Wimbledon two years ago, when she was 11 weeks pregnant, said: “To be honest I didn’t really mind who I got in the draw. Obviously, it could have been better, but it could have been worse, too. The main thing is I’m confident, I feel like I’m playing well, and I’m just really excited to be back playing at Wimbledon and I can’t wait to get started.”
Whiley’s last appearance at Wimbledon also brought the current British No.1 and Kamiji their fourth successive ladies’ doubles title together. Whiley and Kamiji will play Dutch top seeds Diede de Groot and Aniek van Koot, the reigning Australian Open and Roland Garros champions, in this year’s semi-finals, due to take place on Friday.
Reid, the inaugural Wimbledon gentlemen’s wheelchair singles champion in 2016, will face world No.1 Shingo Kunieda of Japan in this year’s quarter-finals on Thursday. Reid and Kunieda’s last meeting at a Grand Slam was in last month’s Roland Garros semi-finals, with Reid prevailing in three sets to reach his first Grand Slam singles final since 2016.
Eleven-time Grand Slam champion Reid, who has moved up one place to men’s singles world No.7 this week, said: “I’m looking forward to the challenge of playing Shingo for the first time competitively on grass. He is top seed for a reason, but I feel I have the game to cause him a lot of problems on this surface.”
All four Brits on the LTA’s GB Wheelchair Tennis World Class Performance Programme who are playing at Wimbledon this year already have Grand Slam singles and doubles titles to their name.
Reigning US Open champion Alfie Hewett, winner of last month’s all-British men’s singles final on the grass courts at the Fever-Tree Championships, will play reigning Australian Open and Roland Garros champion Gustavo Fernandes of Argentina in his opening match at Wimbledon this year.
World No.3 Hewett said: “I’m excited to be back playing back at Wimbledon and I’m really looking forward to the start of play on Thursday, Gustavo is a tough opponent and I played him here two years ago, so I know what to expect, but I will go out and give it everything like I always do and what will be will be.”
Hewett and Reid will open their bid for a fourth successive Wimbledon gentlemen’s doubles title against French top seeds Stephane Houdet and Nicolas Peifer, the duo the Brits beat in both the 2016 and 2017 finals at The Championships and last year’s US Open men’s doubles final.
World No.3 Andy Lapthorne will play world No.2 David Wagner of the United States when history is made on Thursday with the Wimbledon debut of a quad singles draw.
Lapthorne has already partnered Wagner to one success at Wimbledon after they paired up to win last year’s quad doubles exhibition match, the forerunner to the inclusion of competitive quad singles and doubles draws this year.
Eight-time Grand Slam champion Lapthorne, who beat Wagner in the 2014 US Open quad singles final to claim what is currently his sole Grand Slam singles title, said: “It’s a dream come true to be playing in the first quad singles and doubles events at Wimbledon. I’m really excited to play on Thursday and I’m just going to enjoy the moment and hopefully the match goes my way.”
Lapthorne will partner Australian Dylan Alcott in the quad doubles, with the duo set to play Japan’s Koji Sugeno and Wagner for the inaugural Wimbledon quad doubles title,