We’re over a week into the 2019 Wimbledon Championships, but the events we’ve been waiting for are finally here! There are six adaptive tournaments to be played out over the next four days: Singles and Doubles for Men’s Wheelchair, Women’s Wheelchair, and Quad Wheelchair. All Singles tournaments will start on Thursday, July 11th while Doubles will start on Friday, July 12th both running through Sunday, July 14th.
What To Watch For
- “Calendar Grand Slam Watch” continues with Gustavo Fernández (men’s singles), Diede de Groot (women’s singles and doubles), Aniek van Koot (women’s doubles), and Dylan Alcott (quad singles and doubles) all winning in Australia and France in 2019.
- de Groot has also had success at Wimbledon in her young-yet-prolific career with wins in both of her singles appearances in 2017 and 2018 and a doubles win in 2018.
- This is the first year quad wheelchair tournaments will be played on the competitive schedule at Wimbledon after a doubles exhibition last year.
- Top-ranked Shingo Kunieda is looking for his first Wimbledon singles title to add to his 43(!!!) Grand Slam titles since 2006.
- Joachim Gérard reached the semifinals in singles last year as a wild card and is looking for his first Grand Slam singles win this year.
- Kgothatso Montjane, the first African competitor to qualify for all four Grand Slams, matched Gérard’s feat as the wildcard in the women’s singles bracket last year. She’s now ranked fifth in the world and seems poised to make a title run.
Wheelchair Wimbledon 2019 Preview
Although Wimbledon is the longest-running tennis tournament in the world, it was late to the Wheelchair Tennis party trailing behind the Australian, French, an U.S. Opens in nearly every category. But all six standard categories are present for 2019 so we can enjoy every bit of excitement!
First up, in Men’s Singles (7/11-7/14), we find a nearly identical field to 2018. Shingo Kunieda starts in the top seed again while Gustavo Fernandez, who beat Kunieda in the opening round last year has the second seed. Home-country favorites Gordon Reid and Alfie Hewett have a difficult road right off the bat, with Kunieda and Fernandez respectively. On the inside of the bracket it will be last year’s wildcard, Joachim Gerard vs. last year’s champion Stefan Olsson and a Frenchmen battle between Stephane Houdet and Nicolas Peifer.
In Women’s Singles (7/11-7/13) we have more of a mixup with Italian Giulia Capocci making her first career Wimbledon appearance and Jordanne Whiley climbing back into contention after missing out on 2018. A 1-2 seed final would be a third consecutive Grand Slam final rematch between Diede de Groot and Yui Kamiji (all of which have been won by de Groot)! Kamiji is hoping to break this losing streak while de Groot looks to continue a Calendar Grand Slam run. Starting off in the opening round though we will see Marjolein Buis taking on de Groot, last year’s wildcard Kgothatso Montjane vs. Germany’s Sabine Ellerbrock, last year’s runnerup Aniek Van Koot vs. Capocci, and Whiley vs. Kamiji.
For doubles tournaments we only get two rounds rather than three. Both tournaments feature feature the same eight competitors as in singles. In Men’s Doubles (7/12-7/13), France’s Houdet and Peifer will challenge 2018 champs, Reid and Hewett, while Gerard and Olsson take on Kunieda and Fernandez.
The Women’s Doubles bracket (7/12-7/14) is similarly mixed up from 2018, not by different competitors, but by who’s partnered up. Diede de Groot and Yui Kamiji played together to win in 2018 but one of them will be out in the semifinals this year. de Groot will be joined by fellow Dutchwoman, Aniek Van Koot, to be challenged by Kamiji and Whiley in the first round. Van Koot and de Groot have teamed up for both Grand Slams so far this year and will try for a third straight title. An Ellerbrock/Montjane vs. Buis/Capocci matchup will determine the other final spot.
Finally, we have the newest additions to Wimbledon’s adaptive tennis, the Quad Wheelchair Singles (7/11-7/13) and Doubles (7/12) tournaments. This is reserved for athletes with disabilities that affect both their upper and lower extremities. In Quad Singles, we will see #1 Dylan Alcott vs. Japan’s Koji Sugeno and Andrew Lapthorne vs. #2 David Wagner as the first-round matchups. They’ll compete on Saturday to determine Wimbledon’s first ever Quad Singles champion!
There was an exhibition match for Quad Doubles last year with Lapthorne and Wagner defeating Alcott and Lucas Sithole. Both Singles and Doubles will be moved over to the championship schedule for 2019. 2018’s winners are splitting up so either Lapthorne joining up with Alcott, or Wagner teaming up with Japan’s Koji Sugeno, will repeat. Alcott is also hoping to continue an incredible run. He’s currently a perfect 4 for 4 in singles and doubles Grand Slam titles thus far in 2019, winning on home turf in Australia and in the first Quad events in France.
Head here for all Wheelchair Tennis results and schedules! Day 2 action underway!