Close-up: Peter Norfolk

Britain's greatest champ you've never heard of is going for gold again
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Andy Murray may have finally succumbed to the muscles from Mallorca at Wimbledon, but tennis does not begin and end in SW19.

Britain, it turns out, already has a men's champion. In fact, he's just won the French Open – singles and doubles – adding to his already impressive 30 singles and nine doubles titles. He's also a good bet for this week's British Open in Nottingham and he'll be in Beijing to defend the gold medal he won in Athens in 2004.

So why haven't you heard of him? The answer is that Peter Norfolk (now 47) was in a motorcycle accident at the age of 19, which left him paraplegic. And wheelchair tennis at Wimbledon – where most of us get our knowledge of the game – is currently confined to a men's doubles competition that cannot compete with the draw of the simultaneous French Open. "We're hoping there'll soon be a Quad masters series at all the majors," says Norfolk (Quads tennis being for those with a disability in three or more limbs).

The quality on the circuit certainly seems to warrant it: "The game has progressed. Everyone now takes the ball 'on the rise', which is making it more dynamic and faster. Angles, spin, pace, accuracy – all are crucial."

As the world number two, Norfolk has every right to dream of gold again at the Paralympics. And will he still be around for London 2012? He sees no reason why not. "There are others of my age and older in the world top 10. And how great would that be – to win a medal in your home country?"

The British Open is at City of Nottingham Tennis Centre from 22-27 July. Entry is free. For more about wheelchair tennis, visit www.tennisfoundation.org.uk

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