Defending Champions Dermot Bailey, Lauren Jones and James Shaw head the entries for the National Wheelchair Tennis Championships as the event makes its return to Oxstalls Indoor Tennis Centre, Gloucester over the weekend 9-11 December.
Bailey, Jones and Shaw will be joined by Rio Paralympians Dave Phillipson and Antony Cotterill in a packed field.
The weekend promises to be a celebration of wheelchair tennis for all ages and abilities with the culmination of the Tennis Foundation Wheelchair Tennis National Series running alongside the men’s, women’s, quad, novice and junior competitions. Players competing in the National Series finals have accrued points from events across the country throughout 2016. The event has seen a 40% increase in entries from 2015 as wheelchair tennis continues to grow in popularity and profile and a great weekend of wheelchair tennis is in store.
Northamptonshire’s Bailey, who reached a career high ranking of 38 in March this year, heads the men’s singles entry and will face tough competition in his bid to retain his title from the likes of Rio Paralympian Dave Phillipson. Bailey and Phillipson will be joined by former Great Britain player Kevin Simpson and 2012 National Champion Scott Smith.
Preparing for the defence of his title Bailey said: “Training has been going really well in the past few weeks and I’m feeling confident that I will be able to perform at my best this weekend. Hopefully that will mean I have a good chance of defending my titles.”
Reigning champion Jones heads the field in the women’s division, which also features South Wales’ Debbie Brazier and Shrewsbury’s Deena Webster.
Shaw faces a tough task to hold on to his quad singles title as the entries also include Rio Paralympian and world No.11 Antony Cotterill, who is fresh from making his debut at the NEC Wheelchair Tennis Masters last week. Shaw has enjoyed a stellar 2016, including reaching a new career high ranking of 15.
The success of the 2016 National Wheelchair Tennis Series is highlighted by the strong entry competing for this year’s titles, including the 2015 men’s Champion Pim Palmen. Palmen will face strong opposition from Scotland’s Ruairi Logan, who won the Glasgow National Series title in October and was part of the GB junior team who finished fourth at the World Team Cup in Tokyo in May.
The event also boasts a strong junior category with two boys’ divisions and a combined Orange Ball competition. Logan, Junior Champion at the British Open Championships in July, will be strong favourite for the title in Gloucester in the Boys’ Division 1 whilst some of the most promising players of the future will be on show in the Orange Ball competition, including 2016 National School Games Under-18 Champion Abbie Breakwell.
“We are really looking forward to a brilliant weekend of wheelchair tennis at the National Championships in Gloucester,” said Liz Terry, Tournament Director. “The weekend will be an excellent combination of competition and fun and I would encourage everyone to come down and watch and cheer on our players.”