Kettering's Dermot Bailey approaches next week’s Slovakia Open full of confidence after gaining his second successive silver medal whilst representing Great Britain at the BNP Paribas World Team Cup.
The 24-year-old will begin the ITF Futures event, which opens in Trnava next Thursday (June 21), unbeaten in five singles and doubles matches after winning his Wold Team Cup warm-up tournament in Switzerland and then combining with fellow Brits Alfie Hewett and Gordon Reid to win three of Great Britain’s round-robin pool matches in Apeldoorn.
With Britain drawn to play Poland, China and Spain, Bailey recovered from a set and 5-2 down and saved multiple match points before completing a 2-6, 7-6(6), 7-6(6) victory over China’s Shunjiang Dong.
He then partnered Hewett to a straight sets doubles win against China as Britain beat the Chinese team 3-0.
Having previously partnered Reid to complete a 3-0 win over Poland, Bailey supported Hewett and Reid as they secured a 2-0 semi-final win over Belgium, with only Japan denying Great Britain the gold medal.
“I think that it was not just the performance, but the attitude on court that I can take lots of confidence from for the future,” said Bailey, a member of the Tennis Foundation’s Wheelchair Tennis World Class Programme.
“In the lead up to Rio when the Chinese players were all trying to qualify for the Paralympics Dong was ranked in the top 50, so he’s obviously a good player and it was always likely to be a tough match. But I was determined not to lose.
“I was 5-2 down in the second set and I still felt like I could win. There were fine margins for the rest of the match, but when it came down to the match points that I saved I was willing to hit the shot that needed to be hit.”
With the World Team Cup taking place on clay, Bailey returns to the same surface for the Slovakia Open and then the Barcelona Open in Spain.
Three weeks later, in mid-July, he has the British Open in Nottingham and the potential for adding more rankings points as he bids to climb from his current position just outside the world’s top 70, which he earned with victory at last month’s Bulle Open in Switzerland.
He added: “I had plenty of time training on clay with two of the best players in the world (Hewett and Reid) in Apeldoorn, so aside from our on-court successes that’s the kind of experience that gives you confidence, too.
“But it was the fight in me against Dong that I’m most proud of. If I can take that into the next couple of tournaments I’ll be doing well.”