Photo: Rien HokkenEsther Vergeer (NED)
The ITF today announced the full list of entries for the London 2012 Paralympic Tennis Event at Eton Manor on 1-8 September. A total of 112 players from 31 countries will compete at the venue for six gold medals, with singles and doubles competitions held in men’s, women’s and quad categories. The doubles pairings will be confirmed in July, but will comprise those players already contesting the singles events.
The men’s singles event will feature 64 players, women’s singles 32 players and quad singles 16 players. The quad event is open to both men and women.
The entries are a combination of direct acceptances based on the ITF wheelchair world rankings of 21 May 2012, and Bipartite Commission Invitation places awarded by the ITF Wheelchair Tennis Committee and the International Paralympic Committee (IPC). The winners of the 2010 Asian Para Games and the 2011 Para PanAm Games have also received a direct entry.
Three-time Paralympic champion Esther Vergeer of Netherlands heads the women’s entries and will bid to extend her unbeaten Paralympic singles record. The 30-year-old, who is undefeated in singles since January 2003, has also won two Paralympic doubles titles, and was a doubles silver medallist in Beijing.
Vergeer will be part of a strong Dutch quartet contesting the women’s singles, with compatriots Aniek van Koot, Jiske Griffioen and Marjolein Buis all currently ranked in the world’s top 5. World No. 4 Sabine Ellerbrock of Germany and former world No. 1 Daniela di Toro of Australia, a two-time Olympic medallist, are among the other leading contenders.
The new world No. 1 Stephane Houdet of France heads the men’s entries, with Japan’s Shingo Kunieda looking to defend the Paralympic title he won in Beijing. Kunieda, a four-time ITF World Champion, also won doubles gold in Athens and doubles bronze in Beijing.
Athens singles gold medallist Robin Ammerlaan is part of a strong Dutch entry that also includes world No. 2 Maikel Scheffers and No. 3 Ronald Vink, while among the other challengers is the fast improving 18-year-old Gustavo Fernandez of Argentina, the IPC’s Athlete of the Month for May.
Britain’s Peter Norfolk will look to win his third successive Paralympic quad title on home soil following victories in Athens and Beijing. His closest rivals include American world No. 1 David Wagner, a two-time Paralympic doubles champion, Israel’s Noam Gershony and another Briton Andrew Lapthorne.
Eton Manor is the only purpose-built Paralympic venue for London 2012. It features nine competition courts and four practice courts, with a total capacity of 10,500 spectators. There are three show courts, with Centre Court holding 5,000 spectators.
ITF President Francesco Ricci Bitti said: “Wheelchair tennis has become one of the most popular Paralympic sports thanks to its outstanding athletes and great personalities. I am confident that this year’s event will build on the success of the previous Games, with the wonderful new facility at Eton Manor providing a great legacy for tennis in the UK."
Please view the PDF below for the full list of entries.