2017 wheelchair tennis world champions named

Fernandez, Kamiji and Wagner finish top of ITF rankings 20 Dec 2017
three wheelchair tennis players playing shots

(clockwise from top left) Wagner, Fernandez and Kamiji end 2017 on top of the wheelchair tennis rankings

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“This award is very special to me, and is much bigger than just me. It is an award that I will always cherish and will always remember the players who came before me.”

The International Tennis Federation (ITF) announced that Argentina’s Gustavo Fernandez, Japan’s Yui Kamiji and USA’s David Wagner have been named 2017 ITF Wheelchair World Champions after finishing top of the rankings.

The ITF World Champions will receive their awards at the 2018 ITF World Champions Dinner on 5 June in Paris during Roland Garros.

Wagner, who concluded as No.1 for the eighth time in his career, became the inaugural quad World Champion 12 years after ending the year in the top spot for the first time.

The 43-year-old captured his sixth Grand Slam title at the US Open and retained the year-end No. 1 ranking in the last match of the year with victory over Andy Lapthorne to win the NEC Masters. He won a total of 12 tournaments during the year.

“It is a real honour to be the first quad player to be recognised by the ITF at the World Champions Dinner,” he said.

“This award is very special to me, and is much bigger than just me. It is an award that I will always cherish and will always remember the players who came before me.”

Fernandez became the first Latin American wheelchair tennis player to be crowned as men’s World Champion. The 23-year-old had an outstanding year in which he reached the final at three of the four Grand Slam tournaments, winning his second Grand Slam title at the Australian Open.

Fernandez won a total of seven singles titles to remain at the top of the rankings in the second half of the year. “Without doubt this has been the best year of my career, something I have been waiting for, dreamed of, and worked hard for for a long time,” he said.

“It is very special to have reached No. 1 because of what it means and how difficult it was. I’m very proud of myself and my team, who have been so important in achieving what we’ve done. The recognition serves as a big motivation ahead of next year, in always trying to become a better player.”

Kamiji is ITF Wheelchair World Champion for the second time having previously received the award in 2014. The 23-year-old was again a dominant force on the UNIQLO Wheelchair Tennis Tour, winning three of the four Grand Slam titles, at the Australian Open, Roland Garros and US Open. Kamiji won a total of 14 titles and was a finalist at the NEC Masters in her best year to date.

“I'm very proud of my season, which started with my first Australian Open title. This year I changed many things and I had to make those changes to get better,” she explained.

“I'm very pleased to have won three Grand Slam titles in the same year for the first time and would like to thank all of my team for their support.”

Spaniards Rafael Nadal and Gabriela Muguruza received the award for the able-bodied categories.

ITF President David Haggerty said: “All our 2017 ITF World Champions have demonstrated true courage and skill in another memorable year for tennis and I would like to thank them for their contribution.”

Full story is available on the ITF’s website.