Tennis Ireland is an official member of the International Wheelchair Tennis Federation. Wheelchair Tennis was founded in 1976 when Brad Parks first hit a tennis ball from a wheelchair and realised the potential of this new sport. Still one of the fastest growing wheelchair sports in the world, wheelchair tennis integrates very easily with the able-bodied game since it can be played on any regular tennis court, with no modifications to rackets and balls. Wheelchair tennis follows the same rules as able-bodied tennis as endorsed by the ITF, with the only exception being that the wheelchair tennis player is allowed two bounces of the ball.
The beauty of wheelchair tennis is that you can play with your able bodied family and friends as well as other wheelchair players. Under the rules of tennis the wheelchair players are permitted two bounces and the able bodied players one but when you are practising you can play to your own rules to suit the standard of the players on the court.
When you start playing you do not require a sports wheelchair. You can play in a day chair. You may wish to strap yourself into the chair to improve your stability. Straps can be used around the waist, knees and ankles, depending on the players balance.
To be eligible to compete, a player must have a medically diagnosed permanent mobility related physical disability which must result in a substantial loss of function in one or both lower extremities.
There are a number of Wheelchair Tennis events that take place in Ireland throughout the year including the Irish Wheelchair Tennis Championships which is played in August of each year.
Information on upcoming events can be found on the Wheelchair Calendar section of the Tennis Ireland website as well as on the sports section of the Irish Wheelchair Association www.iwasport.ie.
The game of wheelchair tennis follows the ITF Rules of Tennis with the following exceptions:
The wheelchair tennis player is allowed two bounces of the ball. The player must return the ball before it hits the ground a third time. The second bounce can be either in or out of the court boundaries.
The wheelchair is considered part of the body and all applicable Rules which apply to a player’s body shall apply to the wheelchair.
The service shall be delivered in the following manner:
A player loses a point if:
Where a wheelchair tennis player is playing with or against an able-bodied person in singles and doubles, the Rules of Wheelchair Tennis shall apply for the wheelchair player while the Rules of Tennis for able-bodied tennis shall apply for the able-bodied player. In this instance, the wheelchair player is allowed two bounces while the able-bodied player is allowed only one bounce.