Philippe Bédard, Maude Jacques and Rob Shaw were crowned singles champions at the 2018 Birmingham National Wheelchair Tennis Championships. The tournament took place from November 22 to 25 at the OSTEN & VICTOR Alberta Tennis Centre.
For a sixth consecutive year, Philippe Bédard Bédard (Bromont, QC) took home the men’s singles title at the Birmingham Nationals. He defeated Thomas Venos (Anmore, BC) in the final by a score of 6-4, 6-1. With his victory on Sunday, he puts himself at just two wins away from tying the record of most consecutive titles in the men’s singles category. He trails Paul Johnson, who won the tournament eight years in a row (1991-1998).
“I’m so glad with the victory today. I didn’t play my best, but my experience definitely made the difference. Congratulations to Thomas on his first Nationals final, the future is bright for him,” stated Bédard after his win. “I would like to thank all the sponsors as well as Tennis Canada for hosting the event. And finally, a big thanks to Betty Birmingham for everything you did for me and the whole wheelchair tennis community.”
A new champion in the women’s singles division was crowned in Calgary, as last year’s winner Tara Llanes (Vancouver, BC) was not on hand to defend her title. In Sunday’s final, the tournament’s top two seeds went head to head with Maude Jacques (Sherbrooke, QC) defeating Kirsten Sharp (Vancouver, BC) by a score of 6-3, 6-1 to capture her second National title. She won her first title in 2015.
The tournament saw another repeat champion on Sunday, as Rob Shaw (North Bay, ON) took home the quad singles title, defeating Gary Luker 6-0, 6-1 in the final. This is Shaw’s fourth consecutive National title and the third time that he faced Luker in the final. This is another accomplishment in Shaw’s career best 2018 season which saw him win two ITF events earlier in the year. He also captured the doubles title in Calgary, playing alongside Luker.
“It is an amazing feeling to once again defend my National singles and doubles titles. I have put in so much work these past 12 months and am satisfied to see my efforts pay off in what was a very solid tournament for me,” said Shaw. “I couldn’t have asked for a better way to cap off what has been my best professional tennis season to date. Looking forward to defending my titles next year in Montreal.”
In doubles, the pair of Bédard and Venos took home the honours while Jacques and her partner Natalia Lanucha were crowned champions on the women’s side.
The Birmingham National Wheelchair Tennis Championships is one of the biggest and most important wheelchair tennis events played in Canada each year and features competition in three divisions: men’s, women’s, and quad. Play was hosted at the OSTEN & VICTOR Alberta Tennis Centre, which opened in the spring of 2016, for a second consecutive year.
*Photos: Kyle Clapham