Introduction to Wheelchair Tennis
Wheelchair Tennis originates in the USA in the 1970’s when one day, Brad Parks, hit a tennis ball from a wheelchair and thought a sport could come out of it. Wheelchair Tennis can be played by all individuals who have a condition that prevents or limits their function in their legs, although difficulties with someone’s grip, trunk, coordination and difficulty to hit a ball will also make someone eligible to play Wheelchair Tennis. Wheelchair Tennis can be done in powerchairs or manual wheelchair and can be played just on a recreational basis and/or on a competitive basis, played from local to international levels.
Wheelchair Tennis Events
Wheelchair Tennis follows the same principles of non-Wheelchair Tennis apart from the one bounce rule, where Wheelchair Tennis allows the ball to bounce on the court twice. As a result, Wheelchair Tennis still has tours and individuals can play either singles and/or doubles. Depending upon an individual’s classification, some individuals may compete in a mixed-sex class.
Eligible Impairment Types
All types of individuals with different physical impairments can qualify for Wheelchair Tennis. The basic criteria for eligibility is that individuals must have a condition or an impairment which stops or limits a person’s ability to play tennis without a wheelchair. This could be a limb amputation, a condition which influence spasms or a condition which causes involuntary movements.
Classification Classes including Cerebral Palsy athletes
Within Wheelchair Tennis, there are two overarching classifications for individuals with all types of physical impairments.
- A classification where the upper body does not affect the ability to play tennis but the lower body does limit or prevent someone to play tennis without a wheelchair.
- Men and women play separately in this classification.
- A classification called ‘Quad’ which is for individuals who may have added difficulty to propel a wheelchair area across a court, with trunk function, with gripping a racket without tape and/or an assistive device, and / or with performing the forehand and backhand motions.
- Depending upon the effect of their conditions, some individuals may be allowed to use powerchairs.
- Individuals within the ‘Quad’ classification will play men and women.