Wimbledon 2022: Shuker wants wheelchair tennis to continue growth

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Wimbledon 2022: Shuker wants wheelchair tennis to continue growth
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By Oli Dickson Jefford at Wimbledon

Lucy Shuker wants wheelchair tennis to keep moving forward after the conclusion of her latest Wimbledon campaign.

Hampshire’s Shuker, who is supported by the LTA’s Wheelchair Tennis Performance Pathway, and South African partner Kgothatso Montjane were beaten 6-4 6-2 by Yui Kamiji and Dana Matthewson in their semi-final on Friday.

That loss signalled an end to the 42-year-old’s Wimbledon, having been beaten by Momoka Ohtani in the singles event on Thursday.

Shuker’s doubles match took place on Court 3, while there were matches on Court 2 and Alfie Hewett singles semi-final opened play on Court 1.

There have been wheelchair warm-up events at the LTA’s cinch Championships and the LTA’s Rothesay International, and the 42-year-old hopes the sport continues to grow in Britain - with Wimbledon at the epicentre of that.

She said: “I think it’s really important for all the divisions. We want to come to Wimbledon and play our best tennis.

“It is a different surface with a different bounce, the chairs move differently or not so well, so having that gives you valuable time to then play those matches. You can train, but playing a match is different.

“I feel like I’m learning how to play on grass, it’s not necessarily perfect tennis. I’ve got the hands for it by using short balls and drop shots, so year on year I feel I’m growing.

“It’s amazing to be here, we’re starting to pull in big crowds like today on Court 1 with Alfie and Gustavo [Fernandez]. To have those lead in events gives us match play to prepare for this.

“Hopefully more players will start supporting those events and the draws here at Wimbledon will start to increase, and we’ll see a real strong wheelchair competition going on."

Next week sees Shuker head to the LTA’s British Open Wheelchair Tennis Championships in Nottingham, with the final Grand Slam of the year at the US Open at the end of the summer.

And while they are short-term targets, she is already eyeing up a return to the Paralympic Games in Paris in two years.

Shuker added: “I’m heading back onto the hard court. I’ll take the confidence from this week as there’s been some really good play, and try to put it into the matches there [in Nottingham].

“I’ll be playing possibly a couple of other tournaments but I’m looking forward to the US Open. It'll be exciting to have another go at a Grand Slam.

“I’m qualifying directly for the Grand Slams and it’s mad to think that the Paralympics is two years away so I’m definitely looking to qualify for there and hopefully be on the podium. I’ll give it my all.”

For more information on the LTA’s British Open Wheelchair Tennis Championships click here

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