The world’s top junior in wheelchair tennis, Ben Bartram, was just featured in an interview on the BBC’s website earlier this week in advance of his first-ever match Down Under. As the 17th-ranked player in the world, Bartram earned a wildcard bid into this year’s Australian Open men’s wheelchair singles draw and had a chance to compete among the best players in the world on his Grand Slam debut in pro wheelchair tennis.
In his opening round match against Japanese world number 11 Takashi Sanada (also making his Grand Slam debut in Melbourne), Bartram lost a very tight match in which he wound up falling in three sets. In doubles, Bartram also played a highly competitive match alongside Oda, but the team lost in third set tie-breaker. Bartram's doubles partner will be playing for an Australian Open singles crown in the coming days.
Over the summer, the British star had a record-breaking season by becoming the first player in history to win the inaugural junior wheelchair championships in Flushing Meadows (he swept both the US Open singles and doubles titles). Currently playing with the V-Cell 8 285g, Bartram told the BBC Sport’s Elizabeth Hudson: “I want to play well, enjoy it and give it everything I have.” It is clear that Bartram did just that, and can hang with the very best in the game!
In women’s doubles news, Sabrina Santamaria was accepted into the women’s doubles draw as an alternate alongside her American partner Claire Liu; they won their first round match against the home crowd favorites Astra Sharma and Jaimee Fourlis. After their opponents snatched the first set 6-2, Sabrina and her partner bounced back on the brink of defeat, winning the second set 7-6 (6). They kept things rolling as they won the final set 6-4. After that thrilling victory, Liu and Santamaria secured a second round match against Kalashnikova and Parks, which they lost in three tough sets, 1-6, 6-4, 2-6.
Follow the rest of the tournament results and all of the action in Melbourne by visiting ausopen.com!