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Paralympic Sports: Wheelchair Tennis

Sport Week: Wheelchair tennis storylines at Rio 2016

Here are five potential storylines in the sport heading into September’s Games. 10 Apr 2016
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David Wagner

American David Wagner won quads doubles gold at the last London 2012 Paralympic Games and silver in the singles event.

ⒸGetty Images
By Andrew Cross | For the IPC

Editor’s note: Each sport on the Rio 2016 Paralympic programme will have a dedicated week of featured content published on paralympic.org. Every week a new sport will be featured and the series will run until September’s Games, helping the public understand more about the 22 sports being contested in Rio.

Heading into the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games, here are five storylines to follow across all wheelchair tennis divisions.

1. Shingo Kunieda’s singles record

The Japanese star has won the last two singles gold medals in Beijing 2008 and London 2012. However, equally impressive is the Kunieda’s matches leading up to each gold medal.

The 32-year-old did not lose a single set during his two Paralympics. He was also on a 77-match singles winning streak, which came to an end last December at the NEC Masters following his loss to Belgium’s Joachim Gerard.

Still, the world No. 2 is aiming to claim his third successive Paralympic singles gold medal. He is also fighting off competition to maintain his two-time Paralympic record of not losing a set in the tournament.

2. Searching for a new women’s singles champion

After Esther Vergeer’s retirement following the London 2012 Paralympics, the women’s singles gold medal will belong to someone else.

The brilliant Dutch star claimed the singles gold medal at the last four Paralympics. But the gold may stay in the Netherlands.

Aniek van Koot took the silver medal four years ago, whilst her fellow compatriot Jiske Griffioen, current world No. 1, took bronze.

However, current world No. 2 Yui Kamiji and current British US Open singles champion Jordanne Whiley will both be pushing for medal positions in Rio.

3. British occupation on podium

Since London 2012, Great Britain has seen several wheelchair tennis stars impressing on the tour, especially in the Grand Slams.

Over the past two years, Whiley has risen. She produced a phenomenal 2014 season, when she won four Grand Slam doubles titles followed by the Masters doubles title. The 23-year-old then followed the year up by retaining the Australian Open and Wimbledon doubles title, before winning her maiden singles title at the US Open in 2015. Whiley will be looking to turn those Grand Slam wins into gold, whether in doubles or singles come September.

Gordon Reid claimed his first career singles Grand Slam by winning the Australian Open title in January. Four months before, he won the US Open doubles Grand Slam and also took the same title at Roland Garros in 2015.

Quad player Andy Lapthorne has Paralympic experience as he took the silver medal in the quad doubles final in 2012. The 25-year-old has won four of the last six Australian Open Quad doubles titles and is currently fourth in the quad world rankings.

Peter Norfolk was the last Brit to take gold at a Paralympics, as he won the quad competition in Beijing.

4. US quad doubles going for four-peat

The US duo of Nick Taylor and David Wagner have taken the previous three gold medals in the quad double finals.

The tandem have dominated the category at the Paralympics and will be aiming to take their fourth gold after the division’s inclusion in the Athens 2004 Games.

5. Two golds in two Paralympic sports for Alcott?

Australia’s Dylan Alcott was part of the men’s wheelchair basketball squad that won gold in Beijing 2008 and silver in London 2012. Now, the current world No. 1 in the quad division is the favourite for gold in Rio 2016.

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Sport fans from around the world can now buy their Paralympic tickets for Rio 2016 from authorised ticket resellers (ATRs).

The IPC’s Global ATR is Jet Set Sports, and Rio 2016 tickets and packages can be purchased on the CoSport website.

Residents of Brazil can buy 2016 Paralympics tickets directly from the Rio 2016 website.