International Field Set for Grimsby ITF Wheelchair Tournament


International Field Set for Grimsby ITF Wheelchair Tournament

by Scott Langdon

Thirty wheelchair athletes from four countries and four Canadian provinces will compete in the Janco Steel Wheelchair Tennis Classic June 14 to 17 at the Grimsby Tennis Club, near Hamilton, Ontario.

The tournament, being held for the second time on the four hard courts of the Grimsby club, is part of the International Tennis Federation (ITF) Futures Series and the Uniqlo Wheelchair Tennis Tour. The global Covid-19 pandemic resulted in the cancellation of the tournament in 2020 and 2021.

Athletes from Japan, Israel, Tanzania and various U.S. states will compete in men’s, women’s and quad singles and doubles against Canada players representing Nova Scotia, Quebec, Ontario and British Columbia.

“There are some high-ranked players entered in the tournament. It is good tennis and provides a gateway to higher competitive levels,” said Ron Mauro, tournament director and president, Grimsby Tennis Club (GTC). “Many of these players aspire to play for their countries in the Olympic Games.”

British Columbia’s Rob Shaw is ranked number 12 in ITF quad singles. Japan’s Takashi Sanada is ranked 31 and Saida Satoshi number 60 in ITF men’s singles.

“We’re excited by the turnout,” Mauro said. “We have more players registered than we did in 2019, before the pandemic. More international players would likely have come, but Covid-19 makes travel complicated for some people.”

Austria’s Thomas Flax, 2019 men’s singles champion, bowed out this year because of travel challenges. Yet, many of this year’s tournaments entrants will also compete in another ITF Futures event in Saint-Hyacinthe, Quebec, June 9 to 12.

Mauro says the record player turnout is matched by the enthusiasm of volunteers and the support of sponsors. Up to 60 volunteers from the Grimsby and Aldershot tennis clubs will lend a hand before, during and after the tournament.

Title sponsor, Janco Steel, is a steel processing company in Stoney Creek. Other sponsors include:  Cla-Val Industries; Canadian Tire, Grimsby; the Rotary Club of Grimsby; the Ontario Tennis Association, Southwest Region; as well as individual donors of both funds and in-kind support.

The Grimsby Tennis Club is located at 46 St. Andrews Avenue. From Toronto take the Casablanca exit off the Queen Elizabeth Way. From the Niagara region, use the Christie Street exit.

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