Sport Week: Introduction to wheelchair tennis

The sport is one of the fastest growing wheelchair sports and will make its seventh Games appearance. 04 Apr 2016 By Andrew Cross | For the IPC

Editor’s note: Each sport on the Rio 2016 Paralympic programme will have a dedicated week of featured content published on Every week a new sport will be featured and the series will run until September’s Games, helping the public understand more about the 22 sports being contested in Rio.

Wheelchair tennis was founded in 1976 due to the efforts by former US freestyle skier Brad Parks.

The sport grew in the 1980s as France became the first country in Europe to put together a specific wheelchair tennis programme. The sport made its first appearance at the Paralympics in Barcelona, Spain, in 1992.

Today, wheelchair tennis is one of the fastest growing wheelchair sports in the world and fits seamlessly with the able-bodied game.

Opponents hit a tennis ball with a racket back and forth over a .914 metre (three-foot) net in the middle of the court. The goal is to hit the ball into the opponent’s half of the court without them being able to return it.

There are no modifications to the size of the court, rackets or tennis balls. The main differences are the specially designed wheelchairs and the ‘two-bounce rule,’ whereby the ball can bounce twice.

There are three categories athletes compete in: men’s, women’s and quads; each division has singles and doubles tournaments.

Athletes compete in series of tournaments including Grand Slams: Australian Open, Roland Garros, Wimbledon and US Open, plus the singles and doubles Masters.

Wheelchair tennis is governed by the International Tennis Federation (ITF).

Helpful links

IPC wheelchair tennis webpage

ITF website


Sport fans from around the world can now buy their Paralympic tickets for Rio 2016 from authorised ticket resellers (ATRs).

The IPC’s Global ATR is Jet Set Sports, and Rio 2016 tickets and packages can be purchased on the CoSport website.

Residents of Brazil can buy 2016 Paralympics tickets directly from the Rio 2016 website.

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