August 29, 2001 - BC Wheelchair Sports Association will host the 2001 Canadian Wheelchair Tennis Championships August 30th to September 2nd at the Richmond Tennis Club at 6820 Gilbert Road, Richmond and BC athletes will be seeded number one in both men's and women's singles.
Vancouver's Yuka Chokyu is the number one ranked women's wheelchair tennis athlete in Canada. A Paralympic athlete, Chokyu is currently ranked 11th internationally in singles and 6th in doubles.
"It will be exciting to have the national championships so close to home," says Chokyu. "I've had an up and down year in singles this year. But I've had a great year in doubles."
Chokyu's doubles partner, Hélène Simard from Quebec, will also be Chokyu's main rival in Singles.
"At the Canadian Championships last year Hélène beat me in three sets. It was close. I hope I can do a little better this year."
Simard and Chokyu will play doubles in the men's A division since there are not very many women’s teams in Canada.
Victoria's Paul Johnson will go into the tournament seeded number one. He is a nine-time defending champion, 2000 BC Wheelchair Sports Association Athlete of the Year and is a Paralympic athlete. Currently, Johnson has a world ranking of 13th in singles and 12th in doubles.
"My main rival will be Colin McKeage (Calgary)," says Johnson. "In Hamilton, Colin beat me 7-6, 7-5. But I have the edge over him over the last four years. I have won three out of the last four times we have played but it will be a dogfight."
Fifty-year-old Phil Rowe of Aldergrove has a great record in doubles. He has been in the finals nine out of the past 10 years.
"My season has been mixed," claims Rowe. "I've had reasonable results over the past year. But I hope to keep my doubles record of getting into the finals intact."
"If the country had the same rankings in able-bodied tennis as we do in wheelchair tennis, Canada would be a powerhouse," says head coach Wayne Elderton. "Half of the national team comes from BC. The fact that we have accessible public courts gives us an advantage. I'll predict we get into the finals in every division." Sarah Hunter from White Rock, also on the National Team, will be the top seed in the Quad Division.
This national championship showcases some of the finest wheelchair tennis players in the world, many of whom have just returned from the 2001 World Team Cup in Sion, Switzerland.
The 2001 Canadian Wheelchair Tennis Championships, August 30th to September 2nd, are supported by The Richmond Tennis Club, City of Richmond, YY Tennis Club, BC Wheelchair Tennis Association, Tennis BC, Tennis Canada, and the Hilton Vancouver Airport.
For further information about wheelchair tennis and the Canadian Wheelchair Tennis Championships please contact
Gail Hamamoto Doré,
Director of Sport Development
BC Wheelchair Sports Association