13 July 2018
'It's something I'll always treasure' - Shuker set to go for Wimbledon glory after last-four victory
She’s faced off at the top of her sport for more than ten years, boasts experience by the bucketload and a Paralympic medal to boot.
But while a Grand Slam title still eludes wheelchair tennis star Lucy Shuker, that might all be about to change.
Shuker is a beaten ladies doubles finalist at Wimbledon in 2009, 2010 and 2012, while also coming up short at the final hurdle at the 2010 Australian Open.
However, a resurgent comeback victory in the last four has set up her and German partner Sabine Ellerbrock with the chance to lift the title on Sunday.
The duo surrendered the first set of their semi-final 6-3 to Dutch pair Marjolein Buis and Aniek Van Koot on Friday, but roared back to seize the momentum and the second set 6-4.
Sabine Ellerbrock and Lucy Shuker will go for Wimbledon ladies' wheelchair doubles glory on Sunday
Bad light stopped play later in the day, the match resuming on Saturday with Shuker and Ellerbrock 3-1 to the good. They held their nerve to claim the decider 6-4.
The duo go into the showdown clash against top seeds Diede De Groot and Yui Kamiji as underdogs, but Shuker is confident she and Ellerbrock have a harmonious and complementary partnership which can upset the form book and go all the way at SW19.
“I know they’re a very good team, both singles and doubles players, but this is sport is at highest level – we’re playing in a final and we deserve to be there,” said Shuker.
“I actually feel we’re good as doubles players. I struggle as a singles player on the grass because the movement is so tricky for me with my disability being so high.
“But Sabine has persevered with me and sees the doubles player in me and for that we can actually come together really well.
I’ve never won a Grand Slam. That’s my ultimate goal and for me, to win at Wimbledon that would be a lifelong dream and something I’ll always treasure.
“For me, if you trust in that, you go out there and let the tennis do the talking.
“I’ve never won a Grand Slam. That’s my ultimate goal and for me to win at Wimbledon, that would be a lifelong dream and something I’ll always treasure.
“I’m very realistic, I know we have to bring our A-game and I also trust we could do it and believe in that, but they’re a strong partnership and they’ll put up a fight.”
Shuker’s longevity at the top of wheelchair tennis must be admired – the 38-year-old is the current British No. 1 and the only British woman to compete in both singles and doubles at this year’s championship.
And after coming up so close to maiden slam glory on numerous occasions in the past, in both singles and doubles, most may have given up the ghost. Not Shuker.
Lucy Shuker won Paralympic ladies' wheelchair bronze at London 2012
“I love tennis,” she added. “I love training. I love the competition – I’ve been in Grand Slam finals before, yes I haven’t won them, but I keep striving, keep working hard and maybe that dream will come true.
“If you don’t have that dream, you’ll never go for it, will you?
“Who knows. It may happen one day, maybe it won’t ever happen, but I’ll definitely give it my best shot and hopefully it will be in the final with Sabine beside me.
“And, let’s be honest, it would be amazing if it was at Wimbledon.”
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