Toronto, April 22, 2015 – Tennis Canada announced Wednesday that quad athletes Gary Luker (Stoney Creek, Ont.) and Mika Ishikawa (Vancouver) have been named recipients of the 2014 Tennis Canada Wheelchair Tennis Excellence Awards. Luker is the winner of the Player of the Year award while Ishikawa is the Most Improved Player.
“We are so happy for Gary and Mika and all of their great success last year,” said Janet Petras, director of wheelchair tennis, Tennis Canada. “They have both worked so hard and it was wonderful being able to watch them improve throughout the year and hit new highs. A huge congratulations to Gary and Mika, and we wish them the best of luck this season.”
It was a career year for Luker, who hit a new best ranking of world No. 15 in October, improving upon his 2013 year-end ranking of world No. 23. He captured three ITF tournaments in 2014 and climbed to become the highest-ranked quad player in Canada throughout the season. He capped it off by winning the trophy at the Birmingham National Wheelchair Tennis Championships, his second national singles title.
Ishikawa made great strides on the international circuit, rising 33 spots throughout 2014 to a year-end world No. 23. She hit a high of No. 20 on the world rankings and picked up several impressive wins along the way. Among them were victories over world No. 10 Greg Hasterok of the United States, fellow Canadian Luker, and another American in No. 14 David Buck. She also won two quad ITF doubles titles and finished as a finalist at an ITF tournament in Hilton Head, South Carolina.
The Tennis Canada Excellence Awards were introduced in 1982 and are presented annually to the country’s top tennis players, coaches, officials, communities, and administrators in recognition of their outstanding contributions made to Canadian tennis.