Paralympic medallists head USN Bolton Arena Indoor entry
Five London 2012 Paralympic Games medallists, including Britain’s Jordanne Whiley, Lucy Shuker and Andy Lapthorne and Aniek van Koot of the Netherlands are among nine world top 10 ranked singles players set to contest the inaugural USN Bolton Arena Indoor Wheelchair Tennis Tournament on 19 - 22 February.
Over 60 players from 13 countries are due to line up for Britain’s second ITF Wheelchair Tennis Tour event of the year as the sport features in the North West for the second successive week following the North West Challenge at South Ribble Tennis Centre on 13 - 16 February.
Supported by the Tennis Foundation and sponsored by TBS Sports, the ITF 2 Series USN Bolton Arena Indoor will see Britain’s top three ranked players head the entries for the men’s singles. They include world No. 3 Gordon Reid, who started 2014 in fine form after the Scot won the first Super Series title of his career at the Sydney International Open in January before going on to reach his second Grand Slam doubles final at the Australian Open.
British No. 2 Marc McCarroll and world No. 1 ranked junior Alfie Hewett, who won his third successive Cruyff Foundation Junior Masters singles and doubles titles at the end of January, boost the home challenge. Frenchmen Thomas Vinatier and Yoann Quilliou and Hungary’s Laszlo Farkas head the top ranked overseas players, who also include London 2012 men’s doubles gold medallist and former world No. 2 Stefan Olsson of Sweden.
Whiley recently became the first British woman to win a Grand Slam wheelchair tennis title after being victorious in the women’s doubles at the Australian Open. The world No. 6 and world No. 8 Shuker, bronze medallists together In the women’s doubles at London 2012, are among four world top 10 ranked women’s players among the entries in Bolton, alongside current world No. 4 and 2013 ITF Wheelchair World Champion van Koot as well as Germany’s world No. 10 Katharina Kruger.
“It’s very exciting to have a new ITF 2 Series tournament in Britain and I’m really looking forward to playing in Bolton and trying to defend world ranking points I won this time last year,” said Whiley. “It will be my second tournament in Britain after my success in Australia and I’ll be doing my best to maintain my good start to the year.”
Van Koot is set to make her seasonal reappearance in Bolton after the London 2012 women’s singles and doubles silver medallist and 2013 Australian Open and US Open champion was forced to end her 2013 season in the autumn due to injury. She still ended the year as the world No. 1 ranked player, a position she kept until after not being able to defend her Australian Open title last month.
Whiley was one of two Brits to win Grand Slam titles at the Australian Open as world No. 3 Lapthorne claimed his third quad doubles title and the London 2012 silver medallist will make his first competitive appearance since his success at Melbourne Park. Lapthorne is one of three world top 10 ranked Brits in the field for the quad singles, alongside world No. 7 Antony Cotterill and world No. 8 Jamie Burdekin. Italy’s world No. 9 Antonio Raffaele and Sweden’s Anders Hard are likely to provide the chief overseas challenge to the top three ranked Brits.
"I’m delighted that we can bring world class wheelchair tennis to Bolton Arana for the first time and we are all thrilled with the high quality field and the wide spread of countries that will feature during what should be a highly exciting four days of top class sport,” said Tournament Director Tony Knappett.