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Wheelchair tennis


Wheelchair tennis started in the United States. In 1976, Jeff Minnenbraker and Brad Parks designed the first adapted chairs for the sport. After this, it took less than a year for the first tournament to be held in California. Wheelchair tennis disseminated rapidly through the United States, to the extent that the first national championship was held in 1980.

When the International Wheelchair Tennis Federation (IWTF) was created in 1988, the sport was already well on its way to being included in the Paralympic programme. In fact, in that same year the sport featured at the Seoul Games as a demonstration sport. At the 1992 Games in Barcelona, the sport was included in the Paralympic programme and for the first time medals were up for grabs.

In Brazil, the first athlete to have contact with wheelchair tennis was José Carlos Morais. His first contact with the sport came in 1985 in England, when he was competing for Brazil in a wheelchair basketball competition. Eleven years later, Morais went to the Paralympic Games in Atlanta and together with Francisco Reis Junior, become the first Brazilian national to compete for the country in this sport.


In order to be able to play wheelchair tennis, the only requirement is for the athlete to have been diagnosed with a locomotion related disability. In other words, athletes must have significant functional loss in one or more parts of the lower body. If the athlete is not able to take part in conventional tennis competitions, they qualify to play wheelchair tennis.


The queen of wheelchair tennis

When Dutch wheelchair tennis player Esther Vergeer retired in 2013, she left a true legacy behind. Between the Games in Sydney 2000 and London 2012, she scooped four singles titles and three doubles. Throughout her career, she recorded 700 victories, losing only 25 times. Vergeer won 21 singles Grand Slam titles - she competed in 21 of these tournaments - and scooped a total of 169 singles trophy in her career.

After being beaten by Daniela di Toro from Italy in January 2003, she never lost again. She was undefeated for ten years, winning 120 consecutive titles, 95 victories with 6-0 6-0 games, losing only 18 sets. Esther was nominated for the Laureus award, the Oscar of sport, five times and won it twice.

See also

Brazilian Tennis Confederation (CBT)

International Tennis Federation (ITF)