The reigning Canadian men’s wheelchair tennis singles and doubles champion, Philippe Bedard is one of the nation’s best prospects for the upcoming Parapan Am Games in Toronto. A former Paralympian, Bedard is in full preparation for the Games and says that winning a medal is one of his goals. Here is what you need to know about Bedard:
Birthdate: June 2, 1981
World Rankings (as of April 27, 2015): World No. 40 Singles / World No. 25 Doubles
Career-High Rankings: World No. 31 Singles (May 5, 2014) / World No. 23 Doubles (July 14, 2014)
Bedard trains about five days a week and is playing several tournaments in the lead-up to the Parapan Am Games, including in South America so he can gain more competitive experience against the very athletes he will play in Toronto this August. He is on the right track as he captured the Quito Open singles titles in Ecuador just last weekend, while earlier this month he and doubles partner Dembe claimed the Uberlandia Wheelchair Tennis Open in Brazil.
On his start in wheelchair tennis:
I tried wheelchair tennis for the first time in December 2008 and right away I knew it was a good sport for me to play. When I was there I was watching a guy play wheelchair tennis with his coach, and I spoke to him after his practice and it turns out he was a Canadian champion that just arrived from the Beijing Paralympics. So when I knew it was possible to go to the Paralympics with wheelchair tennis, it right away became a dream I wanted to fulfill and I did that in London 2012.
On his proudest moment in wheelchair tennis:
To win a round at the Paralympics the first time I was there, I finished in the Top 32 in the world at the greatest event in our sport. That was my biggest moment for sure.
On playing the Parapan Am Games at home:
It’s going to be a big boost for us. A lot of my friends and family will be there and I play well when they’re there to support me. It’s certainly more comfortable to play in your country because you know what’s going to happen, what you’re going to eat, you know you’re going to sleep well, and there’s no time difference. All of these factors are certainly going to help me.
On what might surprise people about wheelchair tennis:
Just to see us play will open the eyes of everyone I think. So many people that saw me playing for the first time or just wheelchair tennis for the first time were impressed by what we can do. So I would say that people should just come see us play with open eyes.
On why this is an exciting time for Canadian tennis:
We have good players at the top, with Eugenie Bouchard and Milos Raonic in the Top 10. That’s helping the sport, and also more people are watching, and more people are coming to Rogers Cup. I hope we’ll have fans at the Toronto Parapan Am Games and that people see we have a really good chance to get medals there. So it’s definitely an exciting time and good for everyone.
The 2015 Toronto Parapan Am Games take place August 7-15, with the wheelchair tennis event located at the University of Toronto Scarborough Tennis Centre. Canada will be sending two men and two women to the tournament, with the team set to be announced by early July.