What is Wheelchair Tennis?

An extract from the London 2012 Paralympic web site (FYI, I play in the Quad class):

Classification

The classification rules of the International Federation for Wheelchair Tennis state that athletes with a physical impairment that affects their ability to move around the court and prohibits them to compete equally with able-bodied tennis players are eligible to compete in the sport at the Paralympics.

Classification also groups athletes in classes, defined by the degree to which they are limited in their ability to perform activities within that sport. In Wheelchair Tennis there are two classes, Open and Quad:

  • Open class is for athletes with an impairment of one or both legs but does not affect their arms or hands.
  • Quad class athletes have an impairment that affects their arms and legs, which limits their ability to handle the racket and to move their wheelchair compared with Open class athletes. Men and women compete together in the Quad events.

Field of play

The court is the same size as that for Olympic Tennis: the singles court is 23.77m long and 8.23m wide, and the doubles court is wider at 10.97m wide. The court is divided in half by a net, which is 91cm high.

History of Wheelchair Tennis at the Paralympic Games

After featuring as an exhibition sport at the Seoul 1988 Paralympic Games, Wheelchair Tennis was introduced as a full medal event at the Barcelona 1992 Games, and has featured at every Games since then.

The basics

The sport follows similar rules to Tennis, with one key exception: the ball is allowed to bounce twice, and only the first bounce must be within the boundaries of the court. All matches are played over the best of three sets.

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