1976 is the birth year for this sport, when Brad Parks started playing wheelchair tennis. Ex-professional skier, he suffered an accident, after which he needed to use a wheelchair. In this context, he got the idea to create a new sport. In a short time, wheelchair tennis became one of the most popular sports in the world, and is perfectly integrated with the classic tennis, matches being made possible in a standard terrain, without modifications for rackets or balls.
This year marks 40 years since the first wheelchair tennis match was held, played by Brad Parks, and in this moment there is a circuit of over 170 tournaments, including Bucharest Open Wheelchair Tennis.
In the present, in Romania, there are 7 sportsmen with disabilities that play wheelchair tennis and are in the ITF ranking.
|Wheelchair Tennis Rules|
Wheelchair tennis follows the ITF tennis rules, with the following exceptions:
a) The double jump rule
The wheelchair tennis player is allowed two ball bounces. The player must return the ball before it touches the terrain for the third time. The second bounce can be inside or outside the terrain limits.
b) The wheelchair
The wheelchair is considered a body part and all the rules that apply to the player’s body will apply to the wheelchair.
c) The serve
The serve will be executed in the following way:
i. Right before starting the serve, the player must be in a stationary position. The servant is allowed a single push before hitting the ball.
ii. While serving, the servant must not touch any surface with the wheels other than the one behind the bottom line, between the imaginary continuation of the middle sign and the side line.
iii. If the conventional serve methods are physically impossible for a quadriplegic player, then the player or another person can throw the ball for such a player. However, this serve method must be used every time.
d) The player loses a point
A player loses a point if:
i. He doesn’t return the ball before it touches the terrain three times.
ii. In accordance with the e) rule below, he uses any part of the leg or inferior extremities as brakes or as stability elements while serving, hitting the ball, turning or stopping on the terrain or on the wheels while the ball is in the game.
iii. He doesn’t manage to keep one of his buttocks in contact with the wheelchair when he touches the ball.
e) Pushing the wheelchair with a leg
i. If, because of an incapacity, a player doesn’t manage to push the wheelchair through the wheels, then he can push it using one leg.
ii. If in accordance with the e) i. rule above, a player is allowed to push the wheelchair using a leg, no other part of the player’s leg can be in contact with the terrain:
· while balancing forward, including when the racket touches the ball;
· since the beginning of the serve until the racket touches the ball.
iii. If a player breaks this rule, he will lose a point.
f) Wheelchair tennis/people without disabilities
When a wheelchair tennis player plays a simple or double match with or against a person without disabilities, the wheelchair tennis rules must apply to the wheelchair tennis player, while the classic tennis rules must apply to the player without disabilities. In this situation, the wheelchair tennis player is allowed two ball bounces, while the player without disabilities is allowed one.
Note: The inferior extremity definition is:- lower limbs, including buttocks, hips, thighs, leg, ankle and foot.