Lapthorne and Whi­ley set sights on United States ti­tles

WHEEL­CHAIR TEN­NIS

Harefield Gazette - - SPORT -

IT IS three years since stars Andy Lapthorne and Jor­danne Whi­ley both won their Lon­don 2012 medals and a year to go un­til the start of the Rio 2016 Par­a­lympics.

How­ever, the cur­rent fo­cus for the Hilling­don wheel­chair ten­nis duo is the first of two back-to-back tour­na­ments in the USA, where they play the fi­nal Su­per Se­ries tour­na­ment of the year, be­fore mov­ing on to the US Open Grand Slam.

World num­ber three Lapthorne is start­ing this week’s USTA Cham­pi­onships in St Louis as the only player to have beaten both of the world’s top two, Amer­i­can David Wag­ner and Aus­tralian Al­cott, so far this sea­son.

The reign­ing US Open quad sin­gles cham­pion is aim­ing for another big per­for­mance as he bids to go one bet­ter than his run­ners-up berth at July’s Bri­tish Open, the last Su­per Se­ries event.

“It’s been a bit of an up and down year so far, but this is the time of the sea­son I re­ally seem to do well, so I hope that will be the case again these next two weeks.

“All four of us at the top of the rank­ings are quite closely matched, so I’m re­ally up for the chal­lenges ahead,” said Lapthorne, who was quad sin­gles run­ner-up to Wag­ner in St Louis this time last year, be­fore turn­ing the ta­bles on the Amer­i­can

Dy­lan in the fi­nal in New York to win his first Grand Slam sin­gles ti­tle.

“New York is a city I love and it’s a dream come true to go back there and to try and de­fend a Grand Slam sin­gles ti­tle. I hope I can do it jus­tice and per­form well.”

Lapthorne also has de­signs on dou­bles suc­cess, hav­ing started 2015 by win­ning his fourth Aus­tralian Open dou­bles crown.

“I would like to end the year at the top of the dou­bles rank­ings,” added Lapthorne, who part­ners fel­low Brit Jamie Bur­dekin in St Louis, be­fore pair­ing up with Al­cott in New York in an at­tempt to de­throne three-time Par­a­lympic cham­pi­ons and de­fend­ing cham­pi­ons Nick Tay­lor and Wag­ner.

“David and Nick are the two play­ers cur­rently ahead of me in the dou­bles rank­ings, so in that re­spect it’s another re­ally big cou­ple of weeks.”

With Lapthorne and Whi­ley among six Brits on the Ten­nis Foun­da­tion’s Wheel­chair Ten­nis Per­for­mance Pro­gramme who are bid­ding for ti­tles in St Louis this week, Whi­ley will be aim­ing to add to her maiden Su­per Se­ries sin­gles ti­tle at the Bri­tish Open.

She then re­turns to New York as de­fend­ing dou­bles cham­pion with Ja­pan’s Yui Kamiji, hav­ing suc­ceeded Kamiji as world No.1 in the women’s dou­bles rank­ings fol­low­ing the Bri­tish Open.

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