Reigning Australian Open and US Open champions Gordon Reid and Jordanne Whiley face Nicolas Peifer of France and Jiske Griffioen of the Netherlands, respectively, when the men’s and women’s wheelchair tennis events get underway at Roland Garros on Thursday morning.
With three Brits on the Tennis Foundation’s Wheelchair Tennis World Class Programme contesting the second Grand Slam of the year, Lucy Shuker returns to contest Roland Garros for the first time since 2013 as the British No.2 and world No.7 faces her doubles partner Marjolein Buis in her bid to reach the women’s singles semi-finals.
A Brit is guaranteed a place in the women’s doubles final, with Shuker and Whiley set to be on opposite sides of the net for their semi-final.
Whiley faces world No.1 Griffioen in the first round of the women’s singles in Paris for the second successive year. The British No. 1 and world No. 4 will hope to replicate the kind of performance that saw the world No.4 beat Griffioen in the semi-finals of last year’s British Open before going to three sets with the Dutchwoman in their two most recent meetings.
“It is what it is. Whoever I get in the draw I’ve got to play, so Jiske is a good opportunity for me to show what I can really do. I just have to go out and do it,” said Whiley after learning of her draw.
After winning his maiden Grand Slam singles title in Melbourne, world No.4 Reid faces world No.3 Peifer, one of three Frenchmen in this year’s field, for the first time at a major. Reid and Peifer are scheduled second on Court 8 on Thursday morning, weather permitting, with Whiley and Griffioen also scheduled second on Court 10.
However, world No.7 Shuker will be the first Brit in action in Paris when she faces world No.6 Buis on Court 10 at 11.00 local time.
“I’m really looking forward to playing my first match here at Roland Garros. I’ve had a good training block and some good time on the clay courts, so I’m excited to be playing tomorrow against Buis. We’ll be partnering each after the singles for the doubles and have pulled the second seeds, so I’m looking forward to this challenge,” said Shuker.
The second seeds that will be facing Shuker and Buis in the last match scheduled on Court 8 on Thursday are 2014 Roland Garros champions Whiley and Yui Kamiji of Japan, who were runners-up in Paris in 2015 before going on to claim their sixth Grand Slam doubles title together at Wimbledon.
The men’s doubles at Roland Garros provided Reid with his first career Grand Slam title last year after partnering Japan’s Shingo Kunieda to victory. Reid went on to win a second Grand Slam doubles title at the US Open before adding his maiden Grand Slam singles title in Melbourne in January. Reid and Kunieda pair up again this year in Paris and begin the defence of their title against Argentina’s Gustavo Fernandez and Joachim Gerard of Belgium.