Reigning champions Dermot Bailey and Lauren Jones aim for a hat-trick of men’s and women’s singles titles at this weekend’s Sheffield Futures Wheelchair Tennis Tournament, which takes place at Graves Health and Sport Centre from Friday to Sunday.
Entrants from Romania and Israel will challenge some of Britain’s country’s leading players at the ITF Futures Series event, which gained world ranking status for the first time in 2013. This year’s tournament is the third of eight international wheelchair tennis tournaments on the UNIQLO Wheelchair Tennis Tour this year either organised by or supported by the Tennis Foundation, Great Britain’s leading tennis charity.
Bailey, 23, returns to Sheffield two years on from gaining his first senior ITF Futures men’s singles title at Graves Health and Sport Centre and if he can make it three titles in a row he will take his tally of career singles titles to seven.
“The Sheffield tournament is always going to be special to me as it’s the one that brought me my first senior ITF Futures title on home soil in 2015 and it’s been the foundation for a lot more success in the last two seasons,” said Bailey. “I’ve never won a hat-trick of titles at any tournament before, so to do it in Sheffield would be great and I’m looking forward to the challenge and trying to retain my ranking points.”
Bailey is one of two former National men’s singles champions among this year’s entry, along with Scott Smith, while other leading Brits include reigning National School Games boys’ singles gold medallist Ruairi Logan and reigning National quad singles champion James Shaw. Petru Punga of Romania adds an international element to this year’s men’s singles draw.
Jones, 21, is also one of two National champions who will contest the women’s singles in Sheffield this year, along with Debbie Brazier, who Jones beat in the quarter-finals last year. The former world No.1 ranked junior has already been in title-winning form this season, having shared in the women’s doubles title at February’s ITF 3 Series Preston Indoor.
Caroline MacDonald, who Jones beat to win her second straight National Championships women’s singles final in December, will also be amongst the opposition once again, along with Israel’s Veronica Zvik. Zvik will be aiming for her second ITF Futures title in Britain in the last six months after winning last October’s Wrexham Wheelchair Tennis Tournament.
“We are delighted to be hosting international wheelchair tennis at Graves Health and Sport Centre for a fifth successive year and look forward to welcoming players from three different countries, including some of the best players from across Great Britain, with our defending champions as aiming for a hat-trick of titles.” said Alex Greaves Contract Manager, of Graves Health and Sport Centre, which is operated by Places For People Leisure.
“Everything is set for another great tournament with some top players on show in Sheffield vying for valuable world ranking points and I would encourage anyone to join us to watch some world class sport for free.”
Entry is free for spectators throughout the three day tournament, with play beginning at 9.30am.