Photo: Mathilde DusolAniek van koot and Jiske Griffioen (NED)
London 2012 Paralympic quad doubles gold medallists Nick Taylor and David Wagner(USA) and women’s doubles silver medallists Jiske Griffioen and Aniek van Koot (NED) will be among the partnerships hoping to secure victory at the Invacare Doubles Masters this week. The ITF’s year-end championship for the world’s leading wheelchair tennis doubles players takes place at the Frans Otten Stadium, Amsterdam on 14-18 November.
Japan's Shingo Kunieda will join Griffioen and Wagner in hoping to maintain their good form into this week's competition after they won the men’s, women’s and quad singles titles at the NEC Wheelchair Tennis Masters last week.
Kunieda will partner current world No. 1 Stephane Houdet (FRA) in the men’s doubles and they will be among the favourites for the title in an eight-team event that contains none of the same partnerships that played last year.
The women’s doubles entry increases from four pairings to six pairings this year and with Esther Vergeer (NED) not playing, Griffioen and van Koot will be the hot favourites. The Dutch pair won Wimbledon and the British Open in July, where they beat Marjolein Buis and Vergeer before finishing runners-up to their compatriots at London 2012. Griffioen and van Koot will be looking to go one step further that last year where they finished as runners-up.
Meanwhile, with Buis unable to renew her successful partnership with Vergeer this year, she will partner Great Britain’s Louise Hunt. With three British players among the entrants, perhaps the biggest threat to Griffioen and van Koot could come from Lucy Shuker and Belgium’s Annick Sevenans or Germany’s Sabine Ellerbrock and Yui Kamiji of Japan
Taylor and Wagner will be firm favourites to add to their five Invacare Doubles Masters quad titles, especially after winning their third successive Paralympic quad doubles gold medal at London 2012.
Events taking place in conjunction with the Invacare Doubles Masters include the Invacare International Forum on Thursday 15 November, where South Africa’s Paralympic and Olympic double amputee sprinter Oscar Pistorius will be a special guest.
The Invacare Doubles Masters will also see two of the world’s most well-known Paralympic athletes under the same roof as seven-time Paralympic Tennis Event gold medallist Vergeer joins Pistorius for a special business event at which they will share their views on the ‘Future of the Paralympics’.