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Paralympic Sports: Wheelchair Tennis

HISTORY OF WHEELCHAIR TENNIS

Wheelchair tennis was founded in 1976 following work by former US freestyle skier Brad Parks.

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Jordan Whiley of Great Britain
Wheelchair tennis is one of the fastest-growing wheelchair sports in the world

 

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 Barcelona 1992 Paralympics.

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 (3ft) 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 before being hit.

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

Athletes compete in a 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).