Tennis Canada (Sept 4) - Several top Canadian and international wheelchair tennis players will be congregating in Mississauga, Ont. this weekend as the Birmingham Classic, part of the ITF’s UNIQLO Wheelchair Tennis Tour, takes place September 4-7 at the Ontario Racquet Club.
With 21 men’s players, 12 quad athletes, and five women’s players participating, it will be one of the biggest wheelchair tennis tournaments in Canada this year. Besides entrants from Canada, athletes from the United States, Great Britain, Brazil, France, Japan, Australia, and South Korea have travelled to the event.
The Top 7-ranked men’s players in the country are all in the draw, including world No. 40 Joel Dembe and No. 45 Philippe Bedard. The other five are Eric Gilbert, Jean-François Sylvestre, Jean-Paul Melo, Billy Bridges, and Marko Golic.
The top two seeds in the men’s event are Takashi Sanada of Japan, ranked world No. 7, and Aussie Adam Kellerman, ranked world No. 13.
Gary Luker, a 2012 Birmingham Classic winner, Rob Shaw, and Mika Ishikawa will lead the way for Canada in the quad tournament. The luck of the draw has placed Luker and Shaw against each other in the first round.
A pair of Americans will be the top-ranked athletes in the quad tournament, with world No. 10 Greg Hasterok and No. 11 David Buck both set to compete.
A round-robin tournament will crown the women’s champion with the five-player field led by top seed and world No. 10 Lucy Shuker of Great Britain.