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Preview: Everything you need to know about the Australian Open

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on 23-01-2018 14:13

Great Britain have had significant joy Down Under in recent times and there are more hopes of a trophy as wheelchair tennis returns to the Australian Open once more.

Here, we look at each player’s chances and the rest of the draw as they look to add more silverware to their cabinets.

The Brits

Gordon Reid

Alfie Hewett

Lucy Shuker

Andy Lapthorne

The draw

Men's singles

World number four Reid will begin his campaign against Japanese hitter Shingo Kunieda.

Reid won the singles in 2016, but his opponent is one of the game’s greats and has triumphed in Australia on no fewer than eight occasions, winning 20 Grand Slams in a glittering career.

However, 26-year-old Reid has youth on his side and will be itching to progress after being knocked out of the quarter-finals at last year’s competition.

He defeated Kunieda en route to glory in 2016 and will be full of confidence going into the match.

Despite being only 20, Hewett is a dangerous opponent for anyone, and is a player on the up and won his first Grand Slam, the French Open, last year.

He also secured the 2017 Masters crown and will be gunning for a place in the semi-finals.

In his way first up is Swede Stefan Olsson, the 2017 Wimbledon champion, who has reached the semi-finals in Melbourne on three occasions.

Men’s doubles

Reid and Hewett are the team to beat in the doubles at the moment, winning both the U.S. Open and Wimbledon as a pair last year.

Reid returns to defend the title he claimed in Australia 12 months ago with Belgian Joachim Gerard, but he and Hewett face a stern test first up against Kunieda and Gustavo Fernandez, the latter the 2017 Australian Open singles champion.

Women’s singles

Lucy Shuker is an Australian Open quarter-finalist on four occasions.

The 37-year-old has bags of experience at the top level as she seeks a maiden Grand Slam, having also reached the semi-finals of the French Open in 2007.

However, she must get past a player even more experienced in German third seed Sabine Ellerbrock, who won the competition four years ago and will be a tough opponent to crack.

Women’s doubles

World number six Shuker is a four-time Grand Slam doubles finalist, reaching the final in Melbourne back in 2010.

Aiming to go one better this time around, she is paired with South African hitter Kgothatso Montjane, with the duo facing Holland’s Marjolen Buis and Yui Kamiji of Japan for a place in the final.

Quad singles

Andrew Lapthorne is once again Great Britain’s hope in the Quads, a campaign which starts in tricky fashion against Dylan Alcott.

Alcott defeated Lapthorne in last year’s final and has won the last three singles championships on home courts.

Quad doubles

Lapthorne and American David Wagner will showdown against homer pairing of Alcott and Heath Davidson for a chance at doubles glory in the quads.

Lapthorne is no stranger to winning this event, having triumphed on five previous occasions.

The schedule

Action in Melbourne will get underway on January 24, with the first athletes in action at 12am (UK time).

The championships will conclude on January 28.

How to follow

Follow @ParalympicsGB on social media and check paralympics.org.uk for the latest. 

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