14 July 2018
Wimbledon wait goes on but Shuker feeling positive
The chance of a maiden Grand Slam title may have evaporated under the fierce Wimbledon sun but the drive to finally get over the line burns as bright as ever for British number one Lucy Shuker.
Shuker appeared in her first Grand Slam final in five years on Sunday, partnering Sabine Ellerbrock in the women’s wheelchair doubles.
They had knocked out the second seeds en route to the final but faced an even greater challenge in the form of top pairing Diede de Groot of the Netherlands and Yui Kamiji of Japan.
Lucy Shuker was appearing in her fourth Wimbledon doubles final
A first Wimbledon final for Ellerbrock. A fourth doubles appearance for partner Shuker.
Kamiji chasing a fifth straight doubles title at SW19 – and 125th title in total - while De Groot aiming to become the first wheelchair player to win the singles and doubles in the same year at Wimbledon.
Under soaring temperatures on Court 3, the stakes were high. Something had to give.
Unfortunately for Shuker, it ended up being her dream of finally lifting the winners trophy which melted away as de Groot and Kamiji triumphed 6-1 6-1.
But on her least-favoured surface, the 2012 Paralympic bronze medallist could still see reason for optimism.
“It was closer than the score depicted,” said the 38-year-old. “We had lots of game points that we didn’t take our opportunities on but Diede and Yui; we always knew they were going to be tough.
“They are the number one seeds, phenomenal players and a top partnership.
“For me, it’s really humbling to be here. I still have my love-hate relationship. The grass is so difficult for me but how can you not love it here? It’s our home Grand Slam.
“I think my tennis is improving. I’ve think I’ve had some really good results this year and the latter part of last year.
“It’s just consolidating that ranking to make sure that I am inside the top seven to be at the Grand Slams.
“I’m loving things, I’ll keep training hard and hopefully one day maybe it will come and I can get that first Grand Slam title.”
It was always going to be a tough ask for the British-German partnership of Shuker and Ellerbrock against the top seeds, and they quickly found themselves 3-0 down in the opening set.
They eventually got on the board at 4-1 but their opponents were able to close out the set before breaking Shuker and Ellerbrock in the opening game of the second.
A deftness of touch at the net and some clever drop shots from Shuker gave the crowd moments to cheer but it was not enough to trouble de Groot and Kamiji – or the outcome of the match.
Lucy Shuker will be in action at next week's British Open
Despite the obvious disappointment, Shuker quickly gets a chance to reset – and get back on her favoured hard court surface – with the British Open getting under way on Tuesday.
Taking place at the Nottingham Tennis Centre, the event is free and will feature the world’s top players, including fellow Brits Gordon Reid and Alfie Hewitt – victorious in the Wimbledon men’s doubles for the third straight year on Saturday – and Andy Lapthorne, one half of the winning partnership in the first-ever quad match held at the All England Championships.
“I know it’s going to be tough. It’s quite a small draw and all the top players are there,” continued Shuker.
“I don’t think there will be any easy matches. It’s a real quick turnaround from being on grass to hard courts so that’s going to be tough.
“I’ll train tomorrow and potentially have a first match on Tuesday.
“It will definitely be nicer for movement and truer bounces with the ball. I’m happy with how I’m playing at the minute and I’m looking forward to it.”
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