Australian Open Wheelchair Championships
The Australian Open Wheelchair Championships starts today. The tennis tournament is held in Melbourne. Many of the best players in the world are playing. The most popular player will be Daniela Di Toro. Di Toro has been playing tennis for a long time. Her chances of winning have improved because the world’s best player is not playing. Japanese player Shingo Kunieda is the favourite in the men’s tournament. He did not lose a match last year. There are many ways that you can try playing wheelchair tennis.
Posted by: Anthony Bartl, on 28/01/10
The 2010 Australian Open Wheelchair Championships starts today
The 2010 Australian Open Wheelchair Championships starts today at Melbourne Park. Many of the world’s best players will battle it out in the year’s first Grand Slam tournament.
The crowd favourite will be Victorian Daniela Di Toro. Di Toro is a veteran of the sport. She has played wheelchair tennis for 22 years and won over 300 professional matches. Di Toro holds 10 Australian Wheelchair Tennis Open titles and has been ranked as the world’s best player.
Di Toro's chances of victory this year have improved because the current women’s world number one player Esther Vergeer is absent from this year’s Australian Open. But Di Toro will have to overcome Korie Homan from the Netherlands. Homan is currently ranked number two in the world. She is well positioned to clinch her first Grand Slam tournament.
Di Toro only recently returned to tennis after taking a few years off.
I’m probably the least prepared I’ve been for a tournament, Di Toro said.
In saying this though, it’s a great opportunity. The number one, who has been undefeated for a long time, isn’t coming out, nor is the number four. Anything could happen if I play well, and I’m really looking forward to it.
Di Toro said her break from the game had provided some perspective.
These days, seeing I’ve played for so long, I tend to see tennis as more a source of enjoyment rather than something to be competitive at, she said.
I’ll be giving the Open my best shot. But I won’t be too disappointed if I don’t win.
In the men’s draw, world number one Shingo Kunieda of Japan is the favourite. Last year he was unbeaten for the whole year. Kunieda only dropped three sets in 37 matches.
Kunieda's strongest competitors at this year’s Australian Open will be Stephane Houdet of France and Stefan Olsson of Sweden. Both players pushed Kunieda all the way at the 2009 French Open.
The current world number three is Maikel Scheffers of the Netherlands. Scheffers has been in great form. He won the 2009 NEC Singles Masters in Amsterdam at the end of last year. He beat Robin Ammerlaan, who won his one and only Australian Open eight years ago.
Another player vying for the Open crown is Satoshi Saida of Japan. Saida was runner up in the Australian Open in 2006. He is currently playing very well. He finished the NEC Singles Masters strongly.
Australia’s best hope in the men’s singles draw is world number 13 Ben Weekes. Weekes got a wild card entry in the tournament. But he is the only player in the men’s singles to have already won a tournament this year. He won the Adelaide Wheelchair Open two weeks ago.
The world’s top four are competing in the quadriplegic singles at this year’s Australian Open. Peter Norfolk of Great Britain is hoping to maintain the number one ranking he took from American David Wagner late last year. Norfolk won the Australian Open title last year and is undefeated at the tournament since 2007.
The other competitors in the Quadriplegic singles are Sweden’s Johan Andersson and American Nick Taylor.
People wanting to try wheelchair tennis can contact Wheelchair Sports Victoria on (03) 9473 0133. Wheelchair Sports Victoria hold free sessions at Albert Park Tennis Reserve. Tennis wheelchairs and racquets can be provided.
Tennis Australia can provide court bookings and details on upcoming wheelchair tennis competitions. Their phone number is (03) 9914 4000. The Tennis Australia website (opens new window) has information about finding a tennis club near you.
The Royal Talbot Rehabilitation Centre runs “Come ‘n Try” wheelchair tennis sessions every Thursday morning. Call (03) 9490 7500 for more information.
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