The Netherlands women’s wheelchair tennis team are looking for another World Cup to add to their collection. That opportunity is just around the corner, as the BNP Paribas Wheelchair Tennis World Team Cup begins Monday (25 May) in Antalya, Turkey.
It is an event, which in its 30 year history, the Dutch women have dominated. Last year on their home court in Alphen, they claimed their 27th women’s World Team Cup title.
The Netherlands’ Aniek Van Koot expects her team to defend their title but also knows the challenges that await in the International Tennis Federation’s (ITF) flagship event, which is often referred to as the Davis Cup and Fed Cup of wheelchair tennis.
“Please tell me who the threat will be, so we can stay on the lookout,” Van Koot joked, before noting who she believes the toughest competitions will be.
“Germany and Great Britain have very strong teams, so we will keep an eye on them.”
The 24-year-old won all her matches in both singles and doubles at last year’s tournament. Van Koot, who is the current women’s single Masters champion, will compete in her ninth World Cup since debuting in the junior’s event in 2005.
Boasting the No. 3 world ranking, she has played in the last five World Cups, where she has not lost a singles or doubles game.
But of all her victories in the event, last year’s stood out.
“It was very special,” Van Koot said. “It was amazing to see so many friends and family on the side of the court cheering for you. To win such a prestigious event in your own country is way beyond cool.
“You want to do just as good as last year. So of course, all eyes are on us. It is never fun to be the one that everyone wants to beat, but I think that gives us more fighting spirit.”
This year’s competition is held on the Club Ai Bey Manavgat’s red clay courts, which also hosted 2010 and 2013 World Team Cup events; the Netherlands’ women’s team were victorious on both occasions.
The tournament will conclude on 31 May, with Van Koot and her team the favourites to claim the Netherlands’ 16th consecutive World Team Cup.
For more information about the BNP Paribas Wheelchair Tennis World Team Cup, visit the ITF’s website.