Wheelchair Tennis. Never Heard of It? Well It's Time You Did

Wheelchair Tennis. Never Heard of It? Well It's Time You Did
July 12, 2016

Scotland may not have qualified for European football this year, but when it came to the tennis, it was a different story altogether.

Scotland may not have qualified for European football this year, but when it came to the tennis, it was a different story altogether.

Not only did Andy Murray take home his second Wimbledon title, fellow Scot Gordon Reid made history. This previously unknown young man became the first player to win the Gentlemen’s Wheelchair Singles Final since the tournament began.

If you didn’t catch any of the action, you can be forgiven for wondering just how on earth those two words can find themselves in the same sentence. Wheelchairs? And Tennis?

But you better believe it. And you’d be right in thinking that it is extraordinary to behold. Catch the highlights from the men’s final right here.

The sheer level of ability and strength required to compete at this level boggles the mind.

Here’s how it works

Wheelchair tennis (miraculously) follows International Tennis Federation Rules of tennis, but with a few important differences.

The most significant of which is the ‘two-bounce rule’. This means a player can allow the ball to bounce twice, as long as it is returned before the third bounce. The second bounce can be inside or outside the court boundaries.

The second rule is that the server must be stationary before serving the ball. The rules only allow one push of the wheelchair before actually hitting the ball.

Matches are the best of three sets, with a tiebreak settling each set where required.

So where did it all begin?

  • It was first introduced as a ‘demonstration sport’ for the 1988 Paralympics in Seoul.
  • It wasn’t until the 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona that wheelchair tennis was introduced as a full medal sport, catapulting the sport firmly into the public eye.
  • The sport has grown steadily since 1992, when the ITF’s NEC Wheelchair Tennis Tour started with 11 international tournaments.

Fast forward to the present day, and there are now over 150 tournaments taking place in over 40 countries across the world, and wheelchair tennis is now a part of all four Grand Slams.

As it happens, Great Britain is pretty bloody good at it too. GB won 78 titles on the UNIQLO Wheelchair Tennis Tour in 2015, just four behind the top-performing nation, Japan.

As we’re sure you will agree, it really is amazing to see the progress that disability sport has made in recent years.

If you’re a budding tennis player, able bodied or not, there’s never been a better time to get involved in the sport.

In fact, charities like the Tennis Foundation exist to create opportunities for anybody to pick up a racket and play. That’s anyone, from any background, and any community. No matter what their age, shape or ability.

So what are you waiting for? Find your nearest inclusive tennis venue using the search and get involved.

Previous Article: July 5, 2016
There's No Reason to Be Afraid
Next Article: July 19, 2016
The C Word - Guest Blog by Luke Haigh