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2024 will be a year to remember for Lucy Shuker BEM.


February 28, 2024

This year is already a very special one for me, and I’m delighted to be sharing my 2024 with you after renewing my partnership with WDH. 

I’ve had a good start – and I’m feeling fit and healthy. I already feel like I’m moving well and hitting the ball sweetly. I put in a lot of hard work in the off season and I think my new RGK chair set up has also really helped me to continue to push the boundaries of what is possible with my disability.

I achieved some good wins in Australia. And even if the draw at the Grand Slam event didn’t go my way, I returned from Down Under feeling good about what lies ahead. I think that confidence was reflected again last week in an encouraging win in Rotterdam against France’s Pauline Deroulede by coming back 3-6, 6-4, 6-2 to reach the singles semis at the ABN AMRO Open. I lost to Pauline a few times last year so it was good to get the win. 

It’s all part of a bigger picture in a way, because this is Paralympics year. If I make it to Paris 2024 it will be my fifth successive Paralympic Games. I think this record is one of the reasons why I was the proud recipient of a British Empire Medal for services to sport. It is such an honour and so humbling. It’s been a long journey and sometimes I allow myself to think: ‘Not bad for a girl who broke her back at the age of 21.’ 

My first Paralympics was Beijing back in 2008. Then at London 2012 I was lucky enough to win the first Paralympic medal for Great Britain in women’s wheelchair tennis, along with Jordanne Whiley in the doubles.

We won bronze again at Rio 2016. And then we went one better by taking the silver in Tokyo, the best a British women’s pairing has achieved. It was also the first time the same partnership had been on the podium at three successive games. 

Jordanne has retired now. That means I’ll be teaming up with a new partner for the Paralympics in Paris this summer. There are a number of GB women in the mix. Cornelia Oosthuizen is a player that has come through the Invictus Games route to our sport. She brings a lot of experience – and it’s always fun to be on court with her. 

Younger players are coming through too. Both Abbie Breakwell and Ruby Bishop are contenders for the Paralympics – and it’s been exciting to see them competing at bigger tournaments.

All I can say is this: if I make it to Paris, I’ll be just as proud as I was for my first Paralympics sixteen years ago. I’m patriotic – I think you’ve got to be when you represent your country. 

Sir Andy Murray is on record saying that his Olympic golds gave him more satisfaction than any other victories, Carlos Alcaraz is already talking about how much he would love to win a gold for Spain at Paris 2024. The Olympics and Paralympics are important to us players. 

It’s also fantastic to think I could get a chance to play on Philippe Chatrier or Suzanne Lenglen at the Paralympics. Those iconic show courts offer a wonderful stage for anyone lucky enough to play on them.

Of course, there will be a huge event in Paris before that. Roland Garros will take place in June. Qualifying for the Grand Slams is always a big target for me. They are special events to be at with the best players in the world. The beautiful clay of Roland Garros is always a challenge – but it isn’t as hard to move a wheelchair around on as the grass of Wimbledon. 

It’s always special to play at my home Grand Slam in front of supportive crowds, though. And this year Wimbledon has increased the draw sizes for wheelchair tennis from 8 players to 16. This is happening in both the men’s and women’s divisions – and that’s another monumental step forward for our game. It’s also testament to the strength and depth of our sport – and I’ll talk more about that next time.

All this leads to the Paralympics at the end of August – and the chance to go for more medals. I’ll be doing everything I can to make that happen. And however the year unfolds, I want to enjoy 2024.

I’m looking forward to what lies ahead – and I hope WDH and its regular blog readers are too.

That’s all for now. Next time I’ll give you a glimpse into some of the issues and developments off the court. And they’re pretty interesting too! Love, Lucy

The wheelchair tennis tournaments take place in the second week of Wimbledon 2024.

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