Hilary Meredith-sponsored Jamie Burdekin becomes world champion

Hilary Meredith-sponsored Jamie Burdekin returned home from the Netherlands this week having helped lead Great Britain to the quad title at the 2014 BNP Paribas World Team Cup, the Davis and Fed Cups of wheelchair tennis.

It is the second time that 34-year-old Burdekin has helped inspire Great Britain to lift the title after remaining unbeaten in his matches when Britain were victorious when host nation in Nottingham in 2009.

World No. 5 Burdekin’s only loss of this year’s World Team Cup in Alphen came in Britain’s opening round-robin pool tie against Israel as the two-time Paralympian faced Noam Gershony, having been the only player to take a set off the Israeli at the London 2012 Paralympics, where Gershony was the eventual gold medallist.

However, Burdekin began an unbeaten sequence of four singles and two doubles rubbers during the rest of the week when defeating Sweden’s Anders Hard 5-7, 6-3, 6-0 in Britain’s second round-robin tie and then powering past Canada’s Gary Luker 6-1, 6-1.

Great Britain’s opening 2-1 loss to Israel meant they finished second in their pool and went forward to meet Japan in the semi-finals, with Burdekin securing the first part of a 2-0 victory as he swept past Shota Kawano 6-1, 6-4. Fellow Brit Andy Lapthorne won the second singles rubber to ensure Britain’s place in the final against top seeds and defending champions the USA.

Burdekin was the catalyst for another superb Great Britain victory, defeating world No. 10 and London 2012 bronze medallist Nick Taylor 6-0, 6-1. Lapthorne lost the second singles rubber to world No. 1 David Wagner, which meant the two Brits faced a crucial deciding rubber against the three-time Paralympic quad doubles gold medallist. However, Burdekin and Lapthorne were more than equal to the task, pulling through 6-1, 2-6, (10-7) after a match tie-break.

“It was always going to be a tough match against the USA as everyone knows they are the best in the world after winning three Paralympic gold medals, so to win against them really was extra special. Being world champion for a second time is incredibly special,” said Burdekin, who was also part of a three-strong winning team in 2009 alongside Lapthorne and Peter Norfolk, with whom Burdekin also won the quad doubles bronze medal at the 2008 Beijing Paralympics.

“Peter is now retired, so to win this one and show that we can still win it without him shows what a great team we have. It’s been a real team effort all week, not just us players, but the Tennis Foundation support, too. I think my ace at 8-6 in the match tie-break today was vital and I’m elated.”