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TENNIS: New York beckons for Taunton wheelchair ace Lucy Shuker
5:20pm Saturday 31st August 2013 in Sport
LUCY Shuker will next week become the first Brit to contest all four Grand Slam wheelchair tennis events.
The US tennis association named the British No1 among the eight players to contest the women’s events at the US Wheelchair open in New York from September 5-8.
Shuker effectively sealed her qualification for the event by reaching the quarter-finals of last month’s British Open in Nottingham, which meant that she stayed ahead of British No. 2 Jordanne Whiley in the world rankings.
Shuker and Whiley, Gordon Reid and Andy Lapthorne make up the four British players from the Tennis Foundation Wheelchair Tennis Performance Programme who will be in action in New York.
Shuker, the world No7, said: “It’s very exciting and it’s going to be great to end the year having played in all four Grand Slam tournaments in one season.
“I’ll the first Brit to have done it, so that’s another nice thing I can add to my career achievements.
“Jordanne and I knew that if either of us went further than the other at the British Open then that person would get the last automatic qualification slot and the other would have to rely on a wild card.
“We both reached the quarters and so I stayed No7 and Jordanne stayed No8, but I’m delighted for Jordanne that the USTA have gone straight down the ranking list for the wild card and it’s going to be great to have two Brits in the women’s singles and doubles.”
Shuker started 2013 with one of her best Grand Slam performances ever, reaching the women’s singles semi-finals and women’s doubles final at the Australian Open.
And while she reached the third of her three Wimbledon doubles finals in 2012 partnering Whiley before the duo went on to win the women’s doubles bronze medal at the London 2012 Paralympics, they could find themselves on opposite sides of the net at the US Open.
Shuker will play the women’s doubles partnering Dutchwoman Marjolein Buis, the same player with whom she reached the final in Melbourne in January and with whom Shuker has subsequently played doubles at Roland Garros and Wimbledon this summer.
The tournaments will have added significance for Shuker as the world rankings after the US Open will be used to determine the entries for the NEC Wheelchair Tennis Masters and the ITF Wheelchair Doubles Masters, the year-end championships for the world’s top players.