Tennis heroes return from Rio
Lapthorne and Whiley bring home three medals PARALYMPICS
Between them, Lapthorne and Whiley won three of the record six medals won at a single Paralympics by players on the Tennis Foundation’s Wheelchair Tennis World Class Programme.
Silver medallist in the quad doubles in London four years ago, world number four Lapthorne achieved the same medal colour in singles this time after winning his semi-final against American second seed David Wagner 6-2, 2-6, 6-3.
Earlier straight sets wins over Italy’s Alberto Corradi and Australian Heath Davidson saw Lapthorne book his place in the last four, but after defeating Wagner, Lapthorne’s quest for the gold medal ended in a 6-3, 6-4 loss to Davidson’s countryman and world number one Dylan Alcott.
The two Australians also thwarted the British quest for the quad doubles gold medal in the semi-finals, but Lapthorne and Burdekin dug deep to earn their own unique place in Paralympic history in the bronze medal match.
They combined to edge out Israeli duo Itay Erelnib and Shraga Weinberg 3-6, 6-4, 7-6 after four hours and 25 minutes on court, making it the longest THE Ghosh family reigned supreme at Northwood Tennis Club’s finals day.
Playing with controlled aggression, John Ghosh won the singles, gaining revenge over his nemesis for the last five years, Duncan Chorley, before going on to win the men’s doubles too with Fergal Davern, defeating first team captain Colin McCarthy and wheelchair tennis match Paralympic Games history.
Lapthorne said: “I surpassed my own expectations to get to this final, but once I beat the world number two in the semis, I really thought I had a chance at gold. I’ve had my redemption since London, and I’m so proud to leave Rio with two medals, and my first in the singles. Three-time Paralympic medallist has a pretty good ring to it.”
Whiley’s bid for medals was hindered by a wrist injury, and after two straight set wins she bowed out of the women’s singles to Dutch world number six Diede de Groot in the quarter-finals.
But she and Lucy Shuker showed great determination in their doubles bronze medal match, recovering from a mid-match dip in form to defeat Japan’s Yui Kamiji and Miho Nijo 6-3, 0-6, 6-1.
Whiley said: “The medical team have done an incredible job to help manage the pain in my wrist.
“I could feel it a little bit, but I was using pain diversion techniques to take my mind off it! I am sad that my Games is over so quickly, but to get another bronze is still an achievement to be proud of.”
Fellow Ickenham player Marc McCarroll reached the second round of the men’s singles, beating Italy’s Fabian Mazzei 7-5, 6-3, before bowing out to eventual bronze medallist and world number two Joachim Gerard of Belgium.
McCarroll and David Phillipson also reached the second round of the men’s doubles, before losing to French top seeds and eventual gold medallists Stephane Houdet and Nicolas Peifer. in partner Peter Wrigglesworth.
Meanwhile, wife Angela, together with Fergal’s wife, Alita, controlled the ladies doubles with a comparatively easy win over Vim Ferrand and Tracy Lederer, but Lederer did retain her singles title, winning surprisingly easily against former champion Cathy Pilborough.
To cap the Ghosh success story, John’s brother, Owen, together with Ferrand, played through heavy rain to win the veterans mixed doubles against Miwako Hemus and David George.
The mixed doubles final between Chorley and Alita Davern, and Lederer and Fergal Davern, was abandoned because of the conditions and will be played at a later date.
The junior finals saw yet another Ghosh in action, but Hannah was beaten by Anisha Shah in the girls final, while in the boys final, Teddy defeated Harry Lad.
Alex Andelkovic also won the U10 tournament.
During the winter months, the courts and floodlights are being replaced, but the club will continue to operate running an internal club mixed doubles tournament, as well as social and junior tennis and matches against other clubs.
For more details, visit www. northwoodtennisclub.co.uk. Mangan
n MEDALLISTS: Andy Lapthorne and (below) Jordanne Whiley (right) with partner Lucy Shuker