Kettering's Dermot hits new heights after title glory

Dermot Bailey has risen to number 37 in the world rankings. Picture courtesy of LTA
Dermot Bailey has risen to number 37 in the world rankings. Picture courtesy of LTA

Kettering’s Dermot Bailey is celebrating his first new career high ranking for two years after winning his first international wheelchair tennis title of 2019 over the weekend in the Czech Republic.

Bailey became the latest player on the LTA’s GB Wheelchair Tennis World Class Performance Programme to return home with

a title after he won the men’s singles at the ITF Futures Karvina Open.

He has subsequently moved up four places in this week’s world rankings to number 37, an improvement of one place on his previous career best, which he attained in March 2016.

The 25-year-old current British number three began the Czech tournament as second seed and produced five dominant singles performances, the most games he dropped in any one match coming in his 6-3, 6-1 semi-final victory over Italian sixth seed Luca Arca.

He beat Austrian top seed Josef Riegler 6-1, 6-1 in the final.

Bailey, who was also runner-up in the men’s doubles partnering Spain’s Enrique Siscar Meseguer, said: “It was good to perform well in the final and play consistently all week.

“Riegler was the only player to break my serve all week and while he did that in both sets, obviously I broke him every time he served,

“It’s very important for me.

“It’s always good to get the first title of the year because it builds confidence that I can take into my next tournaments.

“And then, with the higher ranking hopefully I’ll get a better seeding for future tournaments and, with that, a slightly better draw and hopefully more ranking points.

“So it all has a positive knock on effect. With the qualification window for Tokyo 2020 starting in a couple of months we’re getting into that key part of the season now.”

Bailey arrived in the Czech Republic on the back of having taken former world number six Takuya Miki to three sets just a few days earlier at the ITF 3 Alpi Del Mare tournament in Cuneo, Italy, before bowing out of their quarter-final 4-6, 6-1, 6-2.

However, it was a performance that still provided Bailey with plenty of encouragement.

He added: “I felt like I played well against Miki, even in the second and third sets when the score started to get away from me.

“When I reflect, there were moments when I felt I could have played better.

“If I had done a few things a little bit better, who know what the score line could have been.

“But against a former world number six, it certainly gave me confidence for Karvina.”

Bailey will be looking for more similarly impressive performances throughout 2019 and into 2020 as he bids to qualify for what could be his first Paralympic Games in Tokyo.