Tokyo 2020: Paralympic Wheelchair Tennis

Wheelchair Tennis

The Paralympic wheelchair tennis tournament is one of the most prestigious events that occur once in four years. The competition is specifically catered to meet the requirements of athletes with disabilities. Amongst many others, wheelchair tennis is traditionally categorized as the most popular Paralympic competition that is actively watched by fans across the globe. The contest is set to take off in Tokyo later this month, from 27 August till 4 September.

Before you start, you can find all the details about the costs of wheelchair tennis in Wheelchair Tennis Accessories Costs and How to get them on a budget ! and What Is The Actual Cost Of Playing Wheelchair Tennis? Budgeting Tips!. As for the eligibility, you can find in Wheelchair Tennis | A Guide To Redefine Disability

Paralympic Wheelchair Tennis: History & Overview

Wheelchair tennis has a long history regarding its role in the Paralympics. Although the sport itself has endured its fair share of complexities over the years, the International Tennis Federation (ITF) finally decided to make it part of the Paralympics in 1982. From that point onwards, wheelchair tennis became a sensation, especially for young athletes with disabilities who had longed dreamt of playing in a competitive environment.

Today, the Paralympic wheelchair tennis competition boasts upon the acknowledgment it has received from the public. This year, the competition will feature athletes from 31 countries who will engage in a battle of endurance to win the medal.

The paralympic wheelchair tennis competition is set to be diverse in terms of gender representation. According to the official details released by ITF, there will be 56 male and 32 female singles and doubles.

Depending upon the schedule, the participants will get the opportunity to play singles and doubles match against opponents. The ITF has designated 8 qualification slots for the singles category, out of which, the positions will equally be divided between male and female athletes.

Similarly, for the wheelchair tennis doubles category, the established rules indicate that a maximum of two teams will be allocated for qualification. Meaning, two male and two female teams will each be assigned qualification slots from the overall number of teams.

The Quad Division

Apart from the standard singles and doubles events, Paralympic wheelchair tennis also includes an additional quad division. The quad division is mainly for players who have suffered from excessive disabilities that have resulted in a permanent loss of movement.

To qualify for the quad division, certain health criteria imply to players with disabilities. For example, apart from the legs, if a player has also lost movement in either of the arms, then he or she can conditionally be placed in the quad division.

As far as the quad division is concerned in the Paralympics, the ITF has confirmed a total of 16 quad singles and doubles matches that will take place in the Paralympics. Amongst the participants, a maximum number of 3 participants will be selected for the qualification slot.

What Are The Rules of Paralympic Wheelchair Tennis?

For the most part, wheelchair tennis follows the same rules as the regular version of it. Contrary to the rumors that have been spread, wheelchair tennis players use regular racquets and tennis balls on a professional level.

However, the ITF has suggested that new players should begin with low compression tennis balls. These are specially designed wheelchair tennis balls that tend to move slightly slower compared to the regular ones. The lack of pace on the low compression tennis balls makes it easier for beginners and children to get a hang of the basics of wheelchair tennis.

Added to this factor, the only major difference is how the tennis ball is allowed to bounce twice in a player’s court. Traditionally, only a single bounce is allowed, within the court boundary, for it to be considered a legal point. Since playing in a wheelchair can impact a player’s movement around the court, the ITF has allowed players to strike the ball after the second bounce, with the condition that it lands within the boundary.

You can read our full guide on wheelchair tennis in Wheelchair Tennis | A Guide To Redefine Disability

Who Gets To Compete in The Paralympic Wheelchair Tennis Tournament?

It’s only fair to ask how a player can become eligible to compete in this esteemed event. After all, having to represent their country is one of the biggest honors an athlete can achieve in their lifetimes.

Much like all other forms of the sport, the ITF has clearly defined the metrics, through which, a wheelchair tennis player can qualify for the Paralympics. The wheelchair tennis rankings determine the quality of a player’s skill and playing record.

According to the ITF, the entries of participants to this year’s Paralympics are based on the rankings that were updated on the 7th of June, at the latest.

Paralympic Wheelchair Tennis: Players To Look Out For

This year’s competition is expected to be tough. Almost every player seemingly has a chance to win gold for their country. The pool of players is a mix of experience, talent, and skill. There are several past representations, along with new underdogs looking to make a name for themselves.

Here are the top 5 wheelchair tennis athletes to look out for in this year’s Paralympic matches:

1. Shingo Kunieda

Shingo Kunieda | via

The host nation doesn’t seem to be coming slowly with Kunieda’s presence. He is the captain of the Japanese team’s delegation in the Paralympics and has experience that spans over 10 years.

Kunieda is arguably considered to be one of the best players in the world, currently. He’s won the ITF world championship 7 times and has been crowned with the Grand Slam title on 42 occasions.

Kunieda is 37 years old and will be competing in his fifth Paralympics. At the same time, he is also a two-time gold medalist, winning the men’s singles competition in 2008 and 2012.

One of the leading players from Japan, Kunieda is heading in as the number 1 ranked player. His legacy makes him a formidable force in this year’s Paralympics, especially after coming back from a series of injuries.

2. Alfie Hewett

Alfie Hewett Claims Title at Roland Garros | via

Hewett is one of the most remarkable players that have graced the game in recent times. What makes him special is the fact that he was diagnosed with Perthes Disease at a very young age. Fighting against the odds, Hewett began his wheelchair tennis career in 2005 to slowly rise above the ranks.

His first breakthrough came in the year 2015 when his performance helped Great Britain secure the World Team Cup senior men’s title for the first time in history. Hewett’s hard work and recognition finally paid off as he became eligible to compete in the Paralympics the very next year. Ranked as an underdog back then, Hewett managed to win a silver medal in the single’s competition for his country.

Hewett also holds a unique record of becoming the number 1 ranked athlete in the men’s singles category at the age of 2019. This year, Hewett seemingly appears to be stronger and wiser in terms of gameplay. It would come off as no surprise if we manage to witness him playing the final of the men’s competition.

3. Giulia Capocci

BOLTON, ENGLAND – FEBRUARY 22: Giulia Capocci from Italy during her match against Dana Matthewson from Unite States on February 22, 2017 in Bolton, England. (Photo by Mark Robinson/Getty Images for The Tennis Foundation)

Capocci is an Italian prodigy who started out playing tennis at the age of 11. Interestingly enough, Capocci started as a regular tennis player before being diagnosed with algodystrophy. This consequently led her to shift towards wheelchair tennis.

Determined to succeed as a professional tennis player, Capocci continued to compete in wheelchair tournaments. She eventually made a name for herself by rising the ranks. In 2018, she finally managed to break into the top 10 for the first time.

Capocci can be termed as the underdog of this year’s Paralympics. She’s known to have the skills to beat the best on any given day. With the potential that is attached to her international career, Capocci has a great chance to add another medal to her arsenal.

4. Dylan Alcott

Dylan Alcott Celebrating A Wimbledon Victory | via Gettyimages

An expert in wheelchair basketball and tennis, Alcott is a veteran when it comes to competing in sporting events. The Australian stunner is one of three athletes who have won gold for their countries in more than one sports category.

Alcott was first introduced to wheelchair basketball at the age of 15. He played with the Australian national basketball team in 2006, winning a bronze medal. In the 2008 Paralympics, Alcott managed to achieve a gold medal playing for the same team.

Apparently, Aclott’s thirst for victory could not be fulfilled and so, he turned his attention towards wheelchair tennis. By 2014, Alcott had established himself a pro in wheelchair tennis. He dominated many opponents in the quad category, managing to win 15 grand slam tournaments before receiving gold in the 2016 Paralympics.

Wheelchair tennis has seemingly become Alcott’s yard. With the 2020 Paralympic just around the corner, Alcott has found himself in a position to score big once again!

5. Yui Kamiji

Yui Kamiji During The Australian Open in 2021 | via

Another representative from the host country, Kamiji is a Japanese veteran with an outstanding record. At a relatively young age of 26, she has already won a total of 22 Grand Slams inclusive of singles and doubles.

Kamiji’s Paralympic wheelchair tennis account also stands above most competitors. She’s been able to win bronze medals in both singles and doubles categories.

In her statements, Kamiji has often talked about her success story and the fact how she thrives upon competition. Her personality is full of confidence with an ambition to finally win gold for her country in this year’s Paralympics.

Conclusion & Expectation

The Only Thing Stopping You From Success Is You!

The Paralympic wheelchair tennis is proof of how hard work always pays off well. Every player taking part in the competition represents a story of determination and sheer willpower.

Winning medals is one thing, but having to represent one’s own country is an honor of its own. Regardless of who wins the medal, fans across the world look forward to experiencing some intense battles that are bound to be full of emotions and resolve!

For more information and tips on wheelchair tennis, make sure to visit our website where we discuss playing tennis for beginners!

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