Today is a significant day in the development of wheelchair tennis with the All England Club, Wimbledon announcing the staging of a Quad Wheelchair Doubles Exhibition event for The Championships 2018 – a decision fully supported by the Tennis Foundation.
The exhibition, which will recognise the importance of Quad Wheelchair tennis to the global game, will be held during the second week of The Championships 2018, and is intended to be a stepping stone towards the introduction of Quad Wheelchair Singles and Doubles as Championship events in the future.
The AELTC has staged Wheelchair Doubles at The Championships since 2005, and added Wheelchair Singles as a Championship event in 2016. Quad Wheelchair tennis is for competitors who have impairment to both upper and lower limbs, and thus their ability to control the wheelchair and the racket is more limited than those in the Open Wheelchair tennis class, particularly on a surface such as grass.
Richard Lewis CBE, Chief Executive of the AELTC, commented:
“We are proud to be introducing a Quad Wheelchair exhibition event to The Championships in 2018. We have been delighted with the success of the Gentlemen’s and Ladies’ Wheelchair Singles and Doubles events and look forward to monitoring the success of this exhibition with a view to further expanding the presence of Quad Wheelchair tennis at The Championships in the years to come.”
Andy Lapthorne, Quad Wheelchair British No.1 and Paralympic silver medallist, commented:
“It’s fantastic to hear that Wimbledon will be inviting the top quad players to play an exhibition event in 2018, with a view, if all goes well, to introducing singles and doubles for Quads in the near future. As a Londoner, it is something that I have campaigned for and I massively appreciate the Club giving us the chance to showcase Quad wheelchair tennis. This is a huge moment for our division and pivotal to developing the Quad game globally – what better way to grow it than to play at what is the greatest tennis tournament in the world.”
David Wagner, Quad Wheelchair world No.1 and Paralympic Doubles gold medallist, added:
“I am excited to hear that the ITF Quad division is being given the opportunity to compete in an exhibition event at Wimbledon in 2018. As a veteran of the division this is a dream come true for me, and one we have worked long and hard for to make a reality. I look forward to showcasing the best tennis I can, and continuing to promote the Quad division to other quadriplegics who thought wheelchair tennis wasn’t an option for them.”
For more information about the All England Club, Wimbledon and The Championships 2018 visit wimbledon.com.