“I’m delighted to help launch this initiative as the more wheelchairs we have for new players to try out the sport, the easier it will be able to grow the game both for players who just want to have fun and stay fit, as well as to find future Paralympic champions.”
The specialist tennis chairs, bought by the Trust, are being delivered to 13 tennis venues to help those inspired by tennis at the Paralympic Games to give the sport a go in their local area with access to free equipment.
The sites have been identified as areas where there is strong potential to grow tennis participation by disabled people and they will receive support from the Tennis Foundation in the form of advice, grants and disability awareness training.
Wheelchair tennis is one of the fastest growing wheelchair sports in the world and one where Britain has already achieved much success. London 2012 quad doubles silver medallist Peter Norfolk OBE is part of the Tennis Foundation’s Wheelchair Tennis Performance Programme and is an Ambassador for the Trust. His company, Equipment for the Physically Challenged, is the official wheelchair supplier to the Trust.
“I’m delighted to help launch this initiative as the more wheelchairs we have for new players to try out the sport, the easier it will be able to grow the game both for players who just want to have fun and stay fit, as well as to find future Paralympic champions,” said Norfolk.
“The great thing about tennis is that it’s a completely inclusive sport and disabled people can take part in any tennis activity or modify it to suit them. Hopefully we’ll see more disabled people going along to their local tennis court to enjoy the sport as a result of this initiative and the work undertaken by the Dan Maskell Tennis Trust and the Tennis Foundation,” added Andy Lapthorne, who won silver with Norfolk at the Paralympic Games and who tried out one of the chairs today.
“I started playing tennis on my local park courts and these chairs are perfect for those either just starting out in the sport or for those wanting to develop their skills on court and improve their game.”
Executive Director of the Trust, Gilly English, said, “We know there are more than 20,000 people with a disability playing tennis at least once a week around the UK. There is a huge opportunity to increase this figure and we hope that specialist equipment provided for free as part of this national initiative will encourage more people to try wheelchair tennis.”
Executive Director of The Tennis Foundation, Geoff Newton, added, “We are committed to making tennis an inclusive sport for everyone to enjoy and these tennis chairs will enable people to give wheelchair tennis a go and have some fun on their local courts.
“Building on the momentum from the Olympic and Paralympic Games, this initiative is just one of a number of ways we will continue to support tennis people and venues to enable more people to play the game.”