"It is important that the ITF, as custodian of wheelchair tennis, continues to provide the opportunities for quad players to excel at the highest level and reward their dedication to the sport.”
The International Tennis Federation (ITF) announced on 24 November that the quad wheelchair tennis division is to be recognised in its annual list of ITF World Champions, which is awarded to the year-end No.1 ranked-player in each division.
This year’s ITF World Champions will be announced in December, with the winners presented with their awards at the annual ITF World Champions Dinner held during Roland Garros in Paris on 5 June 2018.
The quad wheelchair world champion will join the men’s and women’s wheelchair world champions as recipients of this prestigious honour. The ITF also honours men’s and women’s singles and doubles world champions, alongside boys’ and girls’ junior world champions.
Players are eligible to compete in the wheelchair tennis quad division if they have a permanent physical disability that results in significant loss of function in three or more extremities, while also fulfilling the sport’s minimum disability criteria.
USA’s David Wagner and Great Britain’s Andy Lapthorne, currently the world’s top two ranked quad players, both go into next week’s season-ending NEC Wheelchair Tennis Masters in Loughborough, Great Britain, in contention for the 2017 year-end No.1 quad singles ranking.
ITF President David Haggerty said: “We are delighted to be able to celebrate the achievements of the world’s best quad wheelchair tennis player as ITF World Champion. It is important that the ITF, as custodian of wheelchair tennis, continues to provide the opportunities for quad players to excel at the highest level and reward their dedication to the sport.”
The ITF World Champions were first introduced in 1978 to pay tribute to the standout performers of the preceding year. Sweden’s Bjorn Borg and USA’s Chris Evert were crowned the inaugural winners of the senior award, with future Czech stars Ivan Lendl and Hana Mandlikova receiving the junior honours.
The world champion accolade has since been extended by the ITF to other tennis categories, including wheelchair tennis in 1991 and doubles in 1996. Past world champions in wheelchair tennis include 13-time world champion Esther Vergeer of the Netherlands, and 2016 winners Gordon Reid of Great Britain and Dutchwoman Jiske Griffioen.
Full story is available on the ITF’s website.