Wheelchair Tennis at the Paralympic Games

Wheelchair Tennis is one of the many wheelchair games that was founded during the 1970s after World War 2, to help get veterans exercising and building confidence again. The sport featured in the 1988 Seoul Paralympic Games as a demonstration sport, four years later during 1992 in Barcelona, it was a medal sport. Athens in 2004 saw an addition of the quad event. And the rest is history. Now, the sport is played in more than 100 countries.

To compete in the Paralympic games, athletes must have either complete or substantial loss of function in one or both of their legs. There are a range of events, open to athletes with different impairments. Athletes with three or more affected limbs may compete in the quad singles and doubles events. While athletes with two or more affected limbs may contest for the men’s and women’s singles and doubles events.

At the Paralympic Games, the rules of wheelchair tennis are quite similar to the International Federations rules of tennis, with a few differences. The major difference, is that the ball can bounce twice before a player returns a shot, as opposed to just once. This second bounce can be inside or outside the court lines. When a player serves they must be still, before striking the ball however, they are allowed one wheel push. Matches are played with a best of three format, and a tie break is conducted if necessary.

An astonishing Paralympian was Jayant Mistry who was British number one before retiring from international competition in 2007.

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