Paralympian Jamie Burdekin, sponsored by Hilary Meredith Solicitors Ltd, has claimed his second major wheelchair tennis doubles title of 2016 partnering fellow Brit Andy Lapthorne after the pair won the quad doubles at the Pensacola Open in Florida on Sunday.
The Brits are now aiming for more success this week as they head to the Cajun Classic in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, another important event along the road to the Rio Paralympics for the leading players on the Tennis Foundation’s Wheelchair Tennis World Class Performance Programme.
Burdekin and Lapthorne have consistently proved over recent seasons that they are perhaps the biggest challengers to the dominance of three-time Paralympic champions Nick Taylor and David Wagner of the United States and so it proved in Pensacola after both partnerships reached the final in straight sets.
Second seeds Burdekin and Lapthorne subsequently engineered a stirring comeback, winning the second set of the final without dropping a game to level the contest before play was suspended due to heavy rain. They returned to court on Sunday to take control of the deciding match tie-break from the outset, eventually sealing a 3-6, 6-0 (10-4) victory, their fourth career win over top seeds Taylor and Wagner and their third win over the Americans since the start of 2015.
“We’ve being training well together at the national training camps and have been looking at playing on the opposition’s weaknesses. We’ve got a plan for every doubles team we play,” said Burdekin, a doubles bronze medallist at the Beijing Paralympics in 2008.
“It’s helped studying the top players and ways to beat them, we didn’t expect it to be this good this soon I think, it’s all about getting a gold medal in Rio for us. The good thing is we’ve still got a lot to work on and improve,” added the former Royal Marine, who also won the quad doubles at January’s Sydney International Open, the first Super Series tournament of 2016, partnering Lapthorne.
While Burdekin and Lapthorne improved in Pensacola to come out on top this year after finishing runners-up to Taylor and Wagner in 2015, at this week’s Cajun Classic it’s the British duo who go in to the quad doubles as defending champions.
A quad singles semi-finalist in Pensacola before bowing out to world No.2 and top seed Wagner, Burdekin will also look to improve on that singles performance in Baton Rouge this week as he returns to a tournament he won in 2014, when he beat Wagner in the final.
Currently world ranked No.7 in singles and No.5 in doubles, Burdekin, who was named Tennis Lancashire’s Male Player of the Year for 2015, recently clinched his first singles title of 2016 at the North West Challenge at South Ribble Tennis Centre, his home training venue.