10sBalls.com • TennisBalls.com

British Wheelchair Tennis From The Tokyo Olympics • Lots Of Players Thoughts And Interviews As They Compete

Gordon Reid and Alfie Hewett of Great Britain in action during their Wheelchair match. Photo by Emilee Chinn/Getty Images

Rio men’s singles gold and silver medallists Gordon Reid and Alfie Hewett eased into the third round of the Tokyo 2020 wheelchair tennis competition on Saturday’s second of nine days of play as ParalympicsGB players won five of their six matches across the men’s, women’s and quad singles events. 

With extreme heat causing a delay to matches on the outside courts at the Ariake Tennis Park for the second day in a row, Reid made a confident start to his Paralympic men’s singles title defence, defeating South Africa’s Leon Els 6-2, 6-0 under the cover of the roof on centre court. After his first round bye, Reid made it three wins from three matches against Els as he moved on to the third round. He said: 

“It feels great, it’s been a long preparation, so to finally get on the match court and get the competition underway is really nice. Because of the heat the last couple of days I’ve trained indoors, anyway, but hopefully we can get the roof open later in the week.”  

“This year I’m maybe more one of the underdogs. I think there are a couple of players who have had better years than me and are more the favourites, but I think that suits me. I think it’s a bad idea for anyone to write me off. Being here at the Games and having won those big medal matches before gives me the confidence that I can do it again.”  

Hewett opened his bid to reach a second successive Paralympic men’s singles final with a 6-1, 6-2 victory over Poland’s Kamil Fabisiak.  

Two-time Paralympic doubles bronze medallists Jordanne Whiley and Lucy Shuker were also in fine form as they kicked off their singles campaigns in Tokyo. Fourth seed Whiley put up a strong performance against Colombian world No.9 Angelica Bernal to advance 6-0, 6-3. 

Whiley, who goes on to play Japan’s Manami Tanaka for a place in the women’s singles quarter-finals, said: 

“Angelica is a really good player. She’s young and she’s fearless – she strikes the ball so well. I knew that I had to be on it from the first ball and that’s what I did. She stepped it up in the second set, which meant I had to step it up too. I’m really pleased with my performance and thought I played really well, so I’m happy with that as an opening round. 

“I haven’t had much luck at the Paralympics in singles if I’m honest, so this time round I’m fit and healthy and in a really good place mentally and physically, and I’m really pleased with that.” 

Shuker secured her first 6-0, 6-0 singles win in four Paralympics as she powered past Turkey’s Busra Un and the British No.2 moves on to play Zhenzhen Zhu of China.  

Andy Lapthorne in action.
Rio quad singles silver medallist Andy Lapthorne secured crucial breaks midway through both sets of his first round match against Canada’s Parapan American Games gold medallist Rob to prevail 6-3, 6-3 in an hour and 19 minutes. After making it six wins from six career matches against Shaw Lapthorne will play Dutchman Niels Vink for a place in the semi-finals.

He said:  “He (Shaw) is a great player and someone I really respect. He knows the game well and plays the game the way it should be played. It was great fun to play him. He’s always a tough opponent and there were one or two points there which could have gone either way, but I guess I’m experienced now in these big moments and I know how to shut it down, and to not make errors as much and that’s probably what got me over the line today.”  

“I’ve got a tough match next against Niels Vink – someone who’s been tearing it up on the tour for the last 18 months – and that’s definitely not going to be easy and I’m going to have to play better than I did tonight. I need that gold medal to complete the collection – it would be nice to have a gold, silver and a bronze.” 

 Lapthorne will be among the Brits in doubles action on Sunday when he partners Antony Cotterill in their quad doubles semi-final against second seeds Sam Schroder and Niels Vink. However, Cotterill’s quad singles challenge is over after he bowed out to Australia’s Heath Davidson 6-1, 6-0. With the heat delays meaning that some men’s singles second round matches are still to be played, Hewett and Reid also turn their attentions to the start of their men’s doubles campaign on Sunday.

The Rio silver medallists play Austria’s Tomas Flax and Nico Langmann.  Meanwhile, Shuker and Whiley will open their bid for a third Paralympic women’s doubles bronze medal with a contest against South Africa’s Kgothatso Montjane and Mariska Venter.  The Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Tennis Event continues through to the fourth day of medal matches on 4 September.  

To find out more about the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Tennis Event visit the LTA website here. To find out more about the LTA’s work with disability tennis, head to www.lta.org.uk/play or email disabilitytennis@lta.org.uk