October 19, 2014 - Tennis Canada
Philippe Bedard (QC), Gary Luker (ON), and Helene Simard (QC) will be going home champions of the Birmingham National Wheelchair Tennis Championships following their respective victories in the men’s, quad, and women’s singles finals at Sani Sport Brossard in Quebec on Sunday.
In a duel between doubles partners, Bedard came out on top over Joel Dembe (ON) 6-2, 6-2 to claim his second straight national singles crown. Familiar foes, Bedard and Dembe have faced off for the singles title for the past three years, with Dembe getting the better of his opponent in 2012 before Bedard upped his game. Together they have also won four consecutive Birmingham national doubles trophies, including this year.
“I am very happy with my win today,” Bedard said. “It’s always something special to play in the final of nationals against my doubles partner and good friend Joel Dembe. I was well prepared for this match, and I have been very careful to conserve my energy this week. I knew I had to play eight matches in four days, so I did everything right to be at my best for the big match today.”
In the quad event, Luker was able to defeat Mika Ishikawa (BC) for his second national singles title and first since 2011. He had been runner-up the past two years.
“I am extremely happy with my win today,” Luker said. “Winning a national championship is quite an honour. Mika played great today in that second set. Winning a tough set like that makes it even more special.”
Competing in her first competitive tennis tournament in seven years, Simard capped her comeback with a 6-1, 6-1 triumph opposite Tara Llanes (BC) in the women’s final, in what was another battle between doubles partners. Simard and Llanes also took the doubles crown together on Saturday.
“I feel delighted to have won,” Simard said. ”I knew that I hadn't lost my passion for tennis and it was great to see that I really enjoy the competition too. Many thanks to Tennis Canada, Parasports Quebec, Sani Sport Brossard, and the Birmingham family for putting on a great event!”
Simard is now a six-time national singles champion, having also won the tournament in 1993, 1996, 2000, 2002, and 2003. She is a former world No. 9.
With the end of play on Sunday, the Birmingham National Wheelchair Tennis Championships came to a successful conclusion for another year. The complete final results and draws can be found here.