Wheelchair Tennis athletes are in Namur, Belgium, today as the Belgian Open 2010 officially begins.
Taking place from 3-7 August in the Tennis Club Géronsart, the event is part of the NEC Wheelchair Tennis Tour International Tennis Federation (ITF) Series. The extensive programme will include Men’s Singles and Doubles, Women’s Singles and Doubles, as well as Quad Singles and Doubles on outdoor clay and indoor hard courts respectively.
Over 50 athletes are set to compete in Belgium, including Robin Ammerlaan (NED), Martin Legner (AUT), Sharon Walraven (NED), Jordanne Whiley (GBR), Fatima Sabri (MAR), Johan Andersson (SWE), Manuel Chevalier (FRA), Antonio Raffaele (ITA), David Wagner (USA), and Richard Engles (AUS).
Some athletes will be returning to the courts just weeks after having won the top places in other Wheelchair Tennis competitions. This summer for example saw Sweden’s Robin Ammerlaan taking his third Wimbledon title, and USA’s David Wagner taking first in the Quad Singles at the Atlanta Open.
Wheelchair Tennis appeared for the first time on the Paralympic Programme in Barcelona in 1992. It originated from the USA in the 1970s and continues to develop a strong following of players and fans internationally.
The game follows able-bodied Tennis rules and athletes must have high levels of skill, fitness and strategy. The only difference in Wheelchair Tennis competitions is that the ball is allowed to bounce two times - the first bounce being within the bounds of the court.