Men’s and women’s singles also to be contested at Wheelchair Tennis Masters
Former doubles partners Wagner (L) and Lapthorne are going head to head for the quad world No.1 spot
The 2017 NEC Wheelchair Tennis Masters will feature 22 of the world’s top singles players on the UNIQLO Wheelchair Tennis Tour in Loughborough, Great Britain, from 29 November-3 December.
The top eight men’s singles and women’s singles players and the top six quad singles players on the UNIQLO Wheelchair Tennis Rankings at the cut-off date of 16 October qualified for the year-end event.
The eight men’s and women’s singles players will be drawn in two round-robin pools of four players and the quad singles players in two round-robin pools of three players each. The top-two from each will advance into the semi-finals.
The contest for the year-end No. 1 quad singles ranking between current leader David Wagner of the USA and world No.2 Andy Lapthorne of Great Britain provides added intrigue to the quest for titles.
With Wagner defending the points he secured for winning his ninth NEC Masters quad singles title last year and Lapthorne looking to improve on his third place finish in 2016 the potential for a significant swing in points means that the players will need to be ready to produce their best right from Wednesday’s first day of round-robin pool competition.
Lapthorne and world No. 4 Lucas Sithole are both former finalists, having both finished as runner-up to Wagner in recent years. Wagner will also be aiming to end 2017 with a brace of Masters titles after partnering compatriot Nick Taylor to a tenth UNIQLO Wheelchair Doubles Masters quad title on 25 November.
The men’s singles entries include four former champions in current world No. 2 Stephane Houdet of France, world No. 6 and two-time former champion Stefan Olsson of Sweden, world No. 7 and reigning two-time champion Joachim Gerard of Belgium, and world No. 8 and former three-time champion Shingo Kunieda of Japan.
The 2016 men’s runner-up Gordon Reid and fellow Brit Alfie Hewett will be looking to complete a ‘Masters double’ for 2017 after their victory together at the UNIQLO Wheelchair Doubles Masters in Netherlands.
There have been four different men’s Grand Slam champions this season, making the competition in Loughborough even more intriguing. World No. 1 Gustavo Fernandez won the Australian Open, Hewett won Roland Garros, Olsson won at Wimbledon and Houdet claimed the title at the US Open in New York.
Eight of the world’s top nine players are among the entries for the women’s singles after current world No.3 Jiske Griffioen, the NEC Wheelchair Tennis Masters champion for the last two years, recently announced her retirement from the sport.
In Griffioen’s absence, 2013 winner and current world No 1 Yui Kamiji and 2014 winner Aniek van Koot are the only former champions among this year’s entries.
Kamiji has won three of this year’s women’s singles Grand Slam titles, with de Groot winning at Wimbledon in July. De Groot joins fellow Dutch player Marjolein Buis in going in search of a second Masters title in as many weeks. The duo combined forces to win the women’s doubles title on 26 November.
Full story is available on the ITF´s website.
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