The opening matches of Wimbledon 2017 this Thursday (13 July) will see a replay of both the men's and women's singles finals of 2016. Defending champion Gordon Reid faces losing finalist Stefan Olsson in the men's draw, while in the women's singles Jiiske Griffioen opens her title defence against last year's runner-up Aniek van Koot.
Great Britain’s Reid has won two of his three matches against Olsson since winning last year’s inaugural men’s singles final at the third Grand Slam of the season, but the Swede claimed victory in their most recent meeting at the SA Open Super Series final in Johannesburg, South Africa, last April.
Japan’s Shingo Kunieda will make his Wimbledon singles debut against Dutchman Maikel Scheffers in the top half of the men’s draw.
With last year’s ranking points won at Wimbledon having dropped off the 52-week rollover this week, Argentina’s Australian Open champion Gustavo Fernandez begins Wimbledon as singles world No. 1. Fernandez will open his bid for a third Grand Slam title against French world No.3 Stephane Houdet.
Roland Garros champion Alfie Hewett opens his third Wimbledon campaign against Houdet’s compatriot and world No. 5 Nicolas Peifer. Great Britain’s 19-year-old has been named Allianz Athlete of the Month for June after winning his first Grand Slam singles title last month.
Griffioen to face van Koot in women’s singles opener
Since meeting in last year’s women’s singles final at Wimbledon, Paralympic champion Griffioen and van Koot have faced-off in the Rio 2016 women’s singles gold medal-match and the quarter-finals at the first two Grand Slams of this season.
Griffioen came out on top to reach the semi-finals at the Australian Open, while van Koot prevailed in three sets last month at Roland Garros. They will now meet for the fourth Grand Slam in a row, with the US Open not having featured wheelchair tennis in 2016 due to the dates coinciding with the Rio Paralympics.
Griffioen has swapped the world No. 1 women’s singles ranking with Japan’s Yui Kamiji and with Griffioen’s 2016 Wimbledon points no longer counting this week, second seed Kamiji starts Wimbledon at the top of the rankings.
The Japanese player also remains on course to become the first player to win all four Grand Slam singles titles in the same season. She begins her Wimbledon challenge against Great Britain’s world No. 7 Lucy Shuker.
The top half of the women’s draw will also see Dutch world No. 3 Diede de Groot make her Wimbledon debut against British player Jordanne Whiley, while two former Grand Slam singles champions will go head-to-head when world No. 6 Marjolein Buis of the Netherlands takes on Germany’s world No. 7 Sabine Ellerbrock.
Women’s doubles also include rematch of previous finals
The women’s doubles draw for this year’s Wimbledon sees reigning champions Kamiji and Whiley take on Dutch top seeds Griffioen and van Koot.
Whiley's world ranking has dropped after she was only able to play at Roland Garros this season due to injury. It means she and partner Kamiji are not seeded for the women’s doubles this year, opening the way for an intriguing semi-final match up.
Kamiji and Whiley completed an unprecedented hat-trick of Wimbledon wheelchair tennis doubles titles in 2016, while Griffioen and van Koot won the very first final between the two partnerships in 2013.
All Dutch partnerships feature in both halves of the women’s doubles draw, with second seeds Buis and de Groot playing Ellerbrock and Shuker for a place in the final.
French top seeds Houdet and Peifer play Olsson and Scheffers in the men’s doubles semis. Reigning champions Hewett and Reid face Fernandez and Kunieda.
Full story is available on the ITF’s website.