Photo: Steve Wake / Professional SportGordon Reid and Marc McCarroll (GBR)
Gordon Reid and Marc McCarroll will showcase wheelchair tennis at London’s Earls Court on Monday, 3 March as Britain’s top two players put on an exhibition at the World Tennis Day Showdown at which Andre Agassi, Pete Sampras, Pat Cash and Ivan Lendl will all be in action.
With World Tennis Day now in its second year it will be the first time that wheelchair tennis has been played at one of the Showdown events that headline the global activity to celebrate World Tennis Day.
Reid and McCarroll will play the exhibition between the two singles matches featuring Agassi and Sampras and Cash and Lendl.
British No. 1 and world No. 3 Reid began playing wheelchair tennis in 2005 after contracting transverse myelitis, a rare neurological disorder, shortly before his 13th birthday. The Scot went on to become Britain’s youngest national champion at the age of 15 in 2007 and has since become the highest ranked British men’s singles wheelchair tennis player ever and a two-time Paralympian as well as a two-time Grand Slam doubles finalist.
“I’m really looking forward to playing at the World Tennis Showdown and celebrating the sport that’s been a big part of my life since I was a child,” said Reid. “After being introduced to wheelchair tennis I’ve never looked back. Tennis is fun and it’s great for your health, regardless of ability and what level you want to play at, so I hope more people will be inspired of pick up a racket on World Tennis Day or as a result of watching us on Monday.”
A former semi-professional footballer, McCarroll also first tried wheelchair tennis in 2005 whilst in rehabilitation after a car accident in 2003. The Middlesex player won his first international career title in 2007 and has since won a total of 12 career singles titles and 30 career doubles titles. He made his Paralympic Games debut at London 2012 and this week he has attained his career best men’s singles world ranking of No. 12.
“It’s a very exciting opportunity for more people to see some live wheelchair tennis and I’m really looking forward to the World Tennis Showdown,” said McCarroll. “It’s great to be playing at such an event alongside stars of the game like Agassi, Sampras, Cash and Lendl and I hope we can all inspire more people to take up tennis and wheelchair tennis.”
“We are delighted that wheelchair tennis will have such a high profile platform in London on World Tennis Day and are pleased to have this opportunity to showcase this rapidly expanding part of the game,” said ITF Wheelchair Tennis Manager Mark Bullock. “We are constantly working towards introducing wheelchair tennis to more players in more countries around the world and I’m sure Gordon and Marc will provide a tremendous display of wheelchair tennis to inspire everyone.”
“We’re looking forward to showcasing how fantastic wheelchair tennis is to a new audience and people will be able to see that tennis can be a game for anyone, whatever their ability. Gordon and Marc are obviously elite players performing on the world stage nearly every week on the ITF Wheelchair Tennis Tour but tennis is also an easy game to play with friends and family to have fun and stay healthy,” added the Tennis Foundation’s Head of Disability Player Performance, Geraint Richards.
World Tennis Day aims to promote tennis and increase participation among players around the globe, with over 60 nations already confirmed to take part. This year’s activities centre around a series of high-profile special events featuring current and former professional players, enhanced by activities generated by the ITF’s National Associations around the globe.
London is one of three cities, along with Hong Kong and New York, hosting World Tennis Day Showdown events on Monday, 3 March.