Wheelchair Tennis Background
Wheelchair tennis was founded in 1976 when Brad Parks first hit a tennis ball from a wheelchair and realized the potential of this new sport. In May 1977, the Los Angeles City Parks and Recreation Department hosted the first ever wheelchair tennis tournament with around 20 players. By 1985 over 1,500 wheelchair tennis players took part in 40 sanctioned events in the USA alone. The quadriplegic (those players with limited mobility or strength in three or four limbs) and women's divisions were expanding at a phenomenal rate.
The game was first played in big, heavy wheelchairs limiting player’s ability to move very quickly around the courts. As wheelchair technology progressed, wheelchairs have become lighter, faster and more maneuverable. Players have also become quite skillful on the court and highly competitive as the game is now one of the fastest growing wheelchair sports in the world.
A wheelchair tennis player must have a medically diagnosed, mobility-related disability, with a substantial or total loss of function in one or more extremities. In wheelchair tennis, the player must master the game and the wheelchair. Learning mobility on the court is exciting and challenging, and helps build strength and cardiovascular ability.
Wheelchair tennis integrates very easily with the able-bodied game since it can be played on any regular tennis court, with no modifications to racquets and balls. Wheelchair tennis follows the same rules as able-bodied tennis with the only exception being that the wheelchair tennis player is allowed two bounces of the ball.
One-Up / One-Down
Wheelchair tennis is one of the fastest growing wheelchair sports in the country. Rules are the same as stand-up tennis, except the wheelchair player is allowed two bounces of the ball, which makes it easy to pair a chair player and a stand-up player together for doubles. This popular format is known as One-Up, One-Down doubles. One-Up, One-Down allows persons with disabilities the opportunity to share in activities with their able-bodied peers and family and increases the playing opportunities available to players in wheelchairs.
How to Play
Learning wheelchair tennis became a lot easier thanks to one of the masters of the sport, 6-time World Champion David Hall, and his long-time coach Rich Berman. The pair have put together a comprehensive video tutorial of all the basics of playing wheelchair tennis.
Watch it at LetsRollWheelchairTennis.com.
Wheelchair tennis is one of the fastest growing wheelchair sports in the country. These facilities and organizations are working hard to help wheelchair athletes learn and play tennis.
Rich Berman's Tennis School
Colorado Wheelchair Tennis Foundation