Stephane Houdet will seek to complete a hat-trick of titles at the US Open United States Tennis Association Wheelchair Championships due to get underway in St Louis tomorrow and concludes on Sunday (September 3).
The 46-year-old Frenchman registered victories in the 2015 and 2016 finals against the Argentinian exactly half his age, Argentina’s 23-year-old Gustavo Fernandez.
But can he prevail again against the rising power in the game who currently tops the International Tennis Federation (ITF) rankings, and who has frustrated him in two of the three preceding Grand Slam events hit year, defeating him in the Australian Open semi-final and the Wimbledon quarter-final?
Asked about his prospects when play gets underway on the hard outdoor courts at the Dwight Davis Tennis Center in Forest Park, Houdet told insidethegames from St Louis: "I am well but everyone is well and it's tougher and tougher.
"Anyone in the top eight can win."
Others confirmed for entry in the St Louis tournament include the Briton one place behind Fernandez in the ITF rankings, Rio 2016 singles champion Gordon Reid, and Houdet’s compatriot Nicolas Peifer.
The current number one and two ranked women, Japan’s Yui Kamiji and Diede De Groot, are also in the running, as are fifth-ranked Aniek Van Koot and Marjolein Buis, with the latter three all being Dutch.
In the quad singles, David Wagner will defend the title he won last year in beating Lucas Sithole, while Britain’s Andy Lapthorne, a semi-finalist, is also back.
It will be the 32nd edition of the world’s oldest wheelchair tennis tournament, part of the UNIQLO Wheelchair Tennis Tour.
A total of 32 players are expected in the men’s singles draw and 24 in the women’s singles.
A total of 16 pairs will contest the men’s doubles, and 12 will compete in the women’s doubles.
In the quads section, there are 24 in the main draw, with 12 in the doubles.