birmingham nationals wheelchair tennis

Photo: Alexis Shareck

The 2023 Birmingham National Wheelchair Tennis Championships is underway, as the best wheelchair tennis players in Canada face off for a chance at taking home the national titles. The tournament is the biggest national wheelchair tennis event in Canada and will be played out of the Sobeys Atlantic Tennis Centre in Bedford, Nova Scotia, from October 12 to 15. The provinces that are represented for this year’s event are British Columbia, Alberta, Ontario, Quebec, and Nova Scotia.

Leading the way in the men’s singles category is Thomas Venos of British Columbia. Venos, ranked 77th in the world rankings, enters the tournament as the three-time defending champion, and will look to extend his streak against a strong player field. Also seeded in the 16-player draw are Barry Henderson (BC), Shawn Douglas Corchesne (ON), and Jean-Paul Melo (QC).

Photo: Alexis Shareck

In the women’s singles event, Ontario’s Anne-Marie Dolinar has the top-seed honours. After finishing in second place in 2021, Dolinar managed to go one further last year, claiming the national title. Her opponent in both of those finals was Natalia Lanucha of Quebec, who enters this year’s tournament as the No. 2 seed. Dolinar is currently 58th in the world rankings, while Lanucha is a few spots ahead of her at No. 54.

British Columbia’s Mitch McIntyre, No. 28 in the world in quads, is atop the quad singles division. His top competition heading into the week is second-seeded Gary Luker of Ontario, who is currently ranked No. 86 in the ITF rankings. Luker’s former doubles partner, Rob Shaw, will not be in Bedford this year, opening the door for a new national champion. Shaw won the previous six quad singles titles.

Highlighting the doubles draws are the duos of Venos and Henderson (men’s), Dolinar and Lanucha (women’s), and McIntyre and Luker (quads). For the second straight year, there will also be a junior’s draw at the Birmingham Nationals. The three next-gen wheelchair athletes making up the division are British Columbia’s John Chen, Samuel Peters, and Lachlan Sandford.

In addition to the great players taking part in this year’s event, the Birmingham Nationals is pleased to announce the inception of the Birmingham Legacy Award. Named after wheelchair tennis philanthropist Betty Birmingham and her family, the award represents the highest honour within the game of wheelchair tennis in Canada. It will be given out annually to an individual or organization for their outstanding contributions to the game.

Click here to see the full list of players scheduled to take part in the 2023 Birmingham Nationals.