“I had some great support today and it was really nice of ParalympicsGB medallists David Weir and Shelley Woods to come out and support alongside fellow players and support staff."
Gordon Reid completed the perfect start to his Australian Open preparations today when he became the first British player to win a men’s singles Super Series wheelchair tennis title at the Apia Sydney International Open in Australia.
Reid also ended the tournament with the men’s doubles title, while Lucy Shuker won the women’s doubles title as Brits collected three titles at Super Series level, the highest tier of wheelchair tennis tournament outside of the Grand Slams.
World No. 4 Reid beat Japan’s world No. 10 Takuya Miki 7-5, 6-3 in Tuesday’s final, having saved set points in the opening set, and his victory came just 24 hours after defeating Miki’s compatriot and world No. 1 Shingo Kunieda for the third time in his career in the semi-finals.
“I’m delighted to start 2014 in such a positive way by winning my first Super Series singles title. I'm already feeling the benefit of my winter training and putting to use in matches areas that I have worked on over the off season,” said Reid, who had won a crucial second set tie-break against Kunieda on Monday en route to securing a 2-6, 7-6(5), 6-3 victory for his third win over the Japanese player since last April.
“I had some great support today and it was really nice of ParalympicsGB medallists David Weir and Shelley Woods to come out and support alongside fellow players and support staff.
“It’s great preparation for my first Australian Open and I can't wait to get out on court in Melbourne now. To beat the world No.1 again en route to winning the title is a big confidence boost.”
Reid also claimed the men’s doubles title in Sydney partnering Dutchman Maikel Scheffers. The second seeds defeated top seeds Stephane Houdet and Kunieda 2-6, 7-5, 6-4 as they clinched their fifth doubles title together and their first at Super Series level, while it was Reid’s second Super Series doubles crown.
There were two Brits in the women’s doubles final as Shuker and her Dutch partner Jiske Griffioen, the top seeds, took on Jordanne Whiley and Japan’s Yui Kamiji, the second seeds and reigning ITF Wheelchair Doubles Masters champions. Shuker and Griffioen won 3-6, 6-2, 6-2 for a memorable victory in their first tournament together as doubles partners.
“I’m delighted for Gordon and Lucy picking up three titles at the first of this year’s six Super Series events. To have three Super Series finalists in Sydney is a tremendous start to the year for our Performance Programme and with such fantastic role models performing on the highest stage, I hope we can inspire more people to start playing wheelchair tennis,” said Geraint Richards, the Tennis Foundation’s Head of Disability Player Performance.
While world No. 7 Whiley and world No. 8 Shuker bowed out of the women’s singles in the quarter-finals against higher ranked opposition, Jamie Burdekin finished third in the quad singles after winning three of his four round-robin matches, including a 3-6, 7-6(4), 7-6(5) victory over South African world No. 2 and eventual Sydney International champion Lucas Sithole.
Reid, Shuker, Whiley, Burdekin, Andy Lapthorne and Antony Cotterill will now all contest the ITF 2 Series Melbourne Open, which starts on Thursday, before Reid, Shuker, Whiley and Lapthorne vie for honours at the Australian Open.
The Australian Open Wheelchair Tennis Championships takes place at Melbourne Park from 22 - 25 January, during the second week of the Grand Slam.