PARALYMPIC heroes are heading for Wearside.
London 2012 medallists Andy Lapthorne, Jamie Burdekin, Lucy Shuker and Jordanne Whiley are set to battle it out in the North East Wheelchair Tennis Tournament at Sunderland Tennis Centre, in Silksworth, next week.
The competition, upgraded from ITF 3 series to the highly competitive ITF 2 series this year, takes place from Monday to Thursday.
Tournament director John Schofield said: “We are thrilled to have ITF 2 Series status this year. It’s the highest grade the tournament has ever had in its 17 years, and we have one of the highest quality fields ever assembled in Sunderland, with top-10 players in each of the men’s, women’s and quad events, as well as several Paralympic medallists.”
“It all adds up to what should be a fantastic week of wheelchair tennis and gives local sports fans the opportunity to come and watch some world-class sport.”
Last month’s Australian Open finalist Lapthorne, who won quad doubles silver at the London 2012 Paralympics, will bid to win his first North East quad singles title.
He will line up alongside fellow Brit Jamie Burdekin, world ranked number six, who was quad doubles bronze medallist at the Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games.
London 2012 Paralympians Gordon Reid, Marc McCarroll and Alex Jewitt head the entry for the men’s singles, while world number one junior Alfie Hewett is also set to occupy one of the four seeded positions.
Also among the British entries is world number one junior Lauren Jones, while the main overseas opposition will come from Frenchwomen Christine Schoen and Emilie Chene.
Admission is free for spectators. For more information, visit www.tennisfoundation.org.uk.