“We are delighted that wheelchair tennis will become one of the first sports to build on the legacy of London 2012 by using facilities at the Olympic Park.”
The International Tennis Federation (ITF) announced the return of international tennis to the London 2012 Olympic Park after leading British charity, the Tennis Foundation, was awarded the rights to stage the NEC Wheelchair Tennis Masters at Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre from 2014-2016.
The NEC Wheelchair Tennis Masters is the ITF’s official year-end wheelchair tennis championship, with an elite field featuring the top eight men, eight women and four quad players in the wheelchair world rankings. First staged in 1994, it was held in Netherlands for 17 years, before moving to its current venue in Mechelen, Belgium in 2011.
Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre, known as Eton Manor when it staged the London 2012 Paralympic wheelchair tennis event, is currently undergoing major transformation work and will offer four indoor and six outdoor courts when it opens in Spring 2014 as part of the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.
“We are delighted that wheelchair tennis will become one of the first sports to build on the legacy of London 2012 by using facilities at the Olympic Park,” said ITF President Francesco Ricci Bitti.
“The NEC Wheelchair Tennis Masters is one of the most prestigious events on the circuit, and its staging in London will help us in our efforts to promote the sport. After the spectacular success of this year’s Paralympic tennis event, British fans can look forward to the return of some outstanding athletes to London.”
The Tennis Foundation, Lawn Tennis Association (LTA) and the owners of the centre, Lee Valley Regional Park Authority, are working together on a comprehensive tennis development plan that includes community outreach, schools and disability programmes and development camps in addition to various national and international events.
The Tennis Foundation has a long history of staging international wheelchair tennis events in Great Britain in partnership with the LTA. It is a three-time host of the World Team Cup, and has organised the British Open Wheelchair Tennis Championships in Nottingham since 1995.
Boris Johnson, Mayor of London, said: “One of the most exciting legacies from the 2012 Games is that London now boasts new world-class sporting facilities. This event will play an important role in maximising opportunities to grow participation in the sport as we continue to build the legacy from the 2012 Games.”