Over the past two decades, wheelchair tennis has been one of the fastest growing and most exciting international sports for people with physical disabilities. Tennis originated in 1976 by American Brad Parks, and has developed from a recreational activity to a professional sport. The sport is played in more than 70 countries around the world.
Wheelchair Tennis Equipment
No specialized tennis equipment is required to play wheelchair tennis (a standard racquet and tennis ball are used), however a sport wheelchair is required. A sport wheelchair gives players greater mobility, balance and speed. These chairs can be built for a customized (fixed) fit or may be ordered with adjustable parts. The OWSA runs a wheelchair loan program where athletes new to wheelchair tennis can rent a sport wheelchair from us for a low monthly fee.
Wheelchair tennis follows the same rules as able-bodied tennis except that the wheelchair tennis player is allowed two bounces of the ball. Anyone can play wheelchair tennis, but only those individuals medically diagnosed with a permanent mobility-related disability can participate in International Tennis Federation-sanctioned wheelchair tennis tournaments.
Wheelchair Tennis Programs
Wheelchair tennis is played year-round. Athletes play indoors in the fall/winter and outdoors in the spring/summer. This sport is fully inclusive and can be played with and against stand-up tennis players. Wheelchair tennis programs are often structured by ability rather than by age.
Wheelchair Tennis Tournaments
Over 20 Wheelchair Tennis tournaments take place in Canada each year, including Regional and National Championships and six satellite events. There are Open, Junior and Quad divisions (for individuals with a mobility impairment in three or more limbs) for men and women.