Lapthorne Wimbledon

Wimbledon 2022: Wheelchair star Lapthorne targeting more history

Andy Lapthorne knows his place in Wimbledon history is secured no matter what happens at the All England Club this year.

The wheelchair quad star has won 13 Grand Slam doubles titles and is a two-time singles champion at the US Open, but unsurprisingly it is his home Slam that is most important.

A singles finalist three years ago, Lapthorne won the doubles in 2019 and 2021, fulfilling his dream of having his name on the All England Club’s roll of honour.

And though he will always be a Wimbledon champion, he believes there is no reason why he cannot add to his already sizable silverware collection. 

“It’s amazing. It’s one of those things that you feel will never actually happen and you’re growing up as a kid, and you dream of that sort of stuff,” he said.

“Now every time I go past the honours board and my name’s on it, I always smile and laugh to myself as it’s crazy. It’s the pinnacle of the sport and to have achieved that means there is not as much pressure this week, because I’ve been there and done it.

“It’s never going to be taken away from me. It’s amazing every time I go past that honours board and I want to add more to it.

“Always the target is to win both. Especially in doubles, me and David [Wagner] are on a good run. We had a poor result at Roland Garros but other than that we have had a great year and we’ll be looking to execute again this week.

“We’re confident on the grass and we’re a team that play well together. I’ve won the last two doubles events here so I’ll definitely be looking to go for that. 

“Singles wise, I’ll be taking it day by day, match by match, trying to play as good as tennis as I can and hopefully I’ll be in a good place. If I can get to another final, who knows.”

The challenge of contesting on two fronts is one the 31-year-old is ready to embrace, but there is something particularly special about Wimbledon this year for him.

The end of covid restrictions means that, unlike last year, his friends and family – often unable to travel around the world to watch him – will be back on site to cheer him on at his home tournament.

“I’m playing on home turf. I’m playing about 20 minutes from where I train, it’s familiar surroundings,” stated Lapthorne. “I love being here – I come here a lot even when the Championships isn’t on, so I feel very comfortable here. 

“The opportunity to have friends and family here as well is massive. Obviously we play all around the world, I play a lot but I don’t have many opportunities for my mum and dad to come and watch. For them to be able to come back and watch this year is massive

“It’s the best place in the world to play tennis. To be coming back now with full crowds and fans back, and friends and family able to come, it’s amazing for all the players and especially for the British players. 

“Seeing the atmosphere in the last week for the British players has been great and I’m looking forward to having that for the wheelchair matches as well.”

Action at SW19 is followed by the LTA’s British Open Wheelchair Tennis Championships in Nottingham and in a busy summer that concludes with the US Open, Lapthorne knows the importance of being on top of his game. 

“It’s a very important time of the year and the key is trying to stay fit, stay healthy and try and get through this period of the year with some success,” he added. 

“It’s amazing that wheelchair tennis is now in a place where we have so many big events, so many opportunities to play and going from one big event to another for a disability sport is amazing. We’re in a very lucky position and everyone’s very excited to be here.

“Any opportunity you get to stay at home and do your job is one you don’t take likely, because you spend the majority of the year travelling, getting on and off aeroplanes, in and out of hotels. 

“It’s great to have the chance to play at home and we’re looking forward to this week and next week.”

For the latest action on the British summer grass court season, check out the LTA Website

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