Lapthorne and Shuker ready for Australian Open challenge

22nd January 2013

Great Britain's Andy Lapthorne and Lucy Shuker are among the 20 entries announced for the Australian Open Wheelchair Championships at Melbourne Park from 23 - 26 January, with both players contesting the Grand Slam for the third time.
World No. 4 Lapthorne will be second seed for the quad singles behind American world No. 1 David Wagner and will bid to reach the final for the first time since making his Grand Slam debut in Australia in 2011.
Lapthorne is already a two-time Grand Slam champion, having won the quad doubles in Melbourne for the last two years partnering Peter Norfolk. With American duo Wagner and Nick Taylor pairing up again, Lapthorne will partner Anders Hard this year as Sweden's world No. 6 makes his Grand Slam debut.
The Paralympic quad doubles silver medallist will face Wagner, Taylor and Hard in a round-robin format, with the top two in the group going forward to the quad singles final.
"It's good to be back at the Australian Open after having enjoyed so much success here in the past two years. Playing in a round-robin format always makes it a bit different and I'm looking forward to my first match against Nick. I haven't lost to him recently so I will go out feeling confident and stick to my game plan," said Lapthorne, who warmed up for the event by winning the quad singles title at the Melbourne Open this weekend.
In the elite field of eight players for the women's singles, world No. 7 Shuker will bid to go beyond the quarter-finals for the first time in a field containing four of the world's top ranked Dutchwomen.
Shuker will play Australian world No.8 Daniela di Toro in Wednesday's first round after getting the better of Di Toro in their only match of 2012 at the Daegu Open in Korea.
British No. 1 Shuker, twice a doubles runner-up at Wimbledon, will also bid to reach her second Australian Open women's doubles final in four years, having reached the final in Melbourne in 2010.
Shuker and Marjolein Buis of the Netherlands are second seeds for the women's doubles and will face Germany's Sabine Ellerbrock and Sharon Walraven from the Netherlands in their semi-final.
"Training has been going well this week and I'm really looking forward to getting back on the courts at Melbourne Park as it's always such a special place to play. It's been a couple of years since I've competed at the Australian Open but I feel like I'm in great shape and am ready to take on some of the world's top players," said Shuker, who claimed a doubles bronze at the London 2012 Paralympic Games with partner Jordanne Whiley.