AO2024 Glory: Archie Graham and Anna McBride Retain Australian Open Titles at AO2024

From January 26th to 28th, the Melbourne Park Courts became the stage for the exceptional skills of the world’s top players during the Australian Open PWII Tennis Championships. This edition marked the second season of an inclusive AO, embracing para-athletes, including those with intellectual impairments.

Sixteen elite athletes, comprising eight males and eight females, marked the highest participation by PWII to date. Australia’s representatives included Breanna Tunny, Kelly Wren, Andriana Petrakis, Damian Phillips, Carla Lenarduzzi, Mitchell James, Joshua Holloway, and Archie Graham.

Great Britain was well-represented by Oliver Beadle, Fabrice Higgins, Anna McBride, Aidan Moody, and Lily Mills. India’s Judaea Lakshmi made a historic debut at AO, while Hanne Lavreysen from Belgium and Sophia Schmidt from Germany added to the international flair.

Anna McBride and Archie Graham with their AO PWII singles trophies. Photo Credit: Sport Inclusion Australia

In Men’s Singles, Archie Graham reaffirmed his world no.1 status, delivering a commanding performance at the Australian Open 2024 PWII Championships. He triumphed over GB’s Oliver Beadle with a score of 6-3, 6-2.
Graham expressing his excitement, told AO,

It is definitely a great experience playing here at Melbourne Park and winning at this level. I still get goosebumps every time I come back here… It definitely makes you feel privileged and honoured being around the best in the world,” acknowledging his admiration for Rafael Nadal.

The Women’s Singles finals witnessed Virtus gold medalist and defending champion Anna McBride (GBR) overpowering Kelly Wren (AUS) with a score of 6-2, 6-0, securing her second consecutive title.

Australia experienced mixed fortunes in the Doubles matches. Breanna Tunny and Kelly Wren yielded the Women’s Doubles crown to Anna McBride (GBR) and Sophia Schmidt (GER) with a score of 5-7, 3-6. However, Archie Graham and Joshua Holloway claimed victory by defeating Fabrice Higgins (GBR) and Judaea Lakshmi (IND) with a score of 6-4, 6-3.
Full results can be accessed from the AO website.

Lawrence Robertson, Tennis Australia’s Director of Pathways and Tennis Services, extended congratulations to all competitors for their stellar performances throughout the three-day event. During the trophy presentation, Robertson expressed,

Tennis Australia is incredibly proud of the opportunities we provide our athletes and the pathways that we offer.”

Virtus applauds Tennis Australia and its Virtus member, Sport Inclusion Australia, for their commendable efforts in uniting top athletes on the same court where champions like Novak Djokovic, Iga Swiatek, Naomi Osaka, and Angelique Kerber have showcased their talents. This commitment to inclusivity echoes the spirit of the sport, bringing diverse athletes together on a prestigious stage.

Earlier in September 2023, as part of a collaboration between the USTA and Athletes Without Limits, notable US tennis stars—Kevin Meade, Rachel Sweatt, Brittany Tagliareni, and Ryan Smith—captivated audiences in a Mixed Doubles Exhibition for players with Intellectual Impairments at the 2023 US Open.

The Australian Open PWII Tennis Championships and the US Open play pivotal roles as platforms for promoting inclusivity in sports, especially for athletes with intellectual impairments. These tournaments go beyond being mere competitions; they provide a spotlight to showcase talents, break down barriers, and cultivate unity. By contributing to a supportive sporting community, these inclusive initiatives acknowledge and celebrate the strength and resilience of each participant. Virtus encourages and hopes for more collaborative efforts that champion inclusivity in the world of sports.