Levenshulme tennis player Amanda Large has won a national tennis title for the second time, defending her title at the National Visually Impaired Tennis Championships in Loughborough.
Large, competes in the B2 category for players with a low level of partial sight, beat off the challenges of players from around the country without dropping a set to retain the title she won on her debut at the event last year.
Speaking after the event, Large said:
“What an incredible weekend! Fantastic volunteers, plenty of great competitive sportsmanship with a wonderful group of people that have become great friends. I am thrilled and over the moon to have won and retained my Women’s B2 singles national title”.
Large, who trains at Manchester Tennis Centre and is the world number one ranked female B2 player, also retained the women’s doubles national title, partnering her friend Minerva Ainsworth to win the trophy.
It is Ainsworth who Large has to thank for getting her involved in the sport. “I used to play tennis recreationally before my sight loss and it’s a sport I have really missed” said Large, a former GP who had to retire from the job she loved after being diagnosed with retinitis pigmentosa in her early 30s and her sight loss started to affect her ability to work with patients.
“Despite sight loss I was keen to stay mentally and physically fit by playing competitive sport. I play VI cricket in a team and one of my teammates (and now my tennis doubles partner) told me about the opportunities to play VI tennis that are supported by the Tennis Foundation. After contacting them I was put in touch with other players at training sessions and then moved onto competitions from there. Since then my life has changed for the better. I have met and played against so many great people from all over this country and the world, it has been fantastic!
“With plenty of coaching and practice, I will hopefully get the opportunity to represent Team GB again and defend my world number one title at international level next year.”
Visually impaired tennis is an adapted from the full court version of tennis and uses a smaller court marked out with lower nets and tactile lines, and an audible ball so players can hear it bounce. Depending on a player’s degree of sight loss they may have between one and three bounces of the ball before returning it back to their opponent. Competitions take place across four sight categories, B1 to B4/B5 – with B1 players having the greatest degree of sight loss.
Anyone interested in giving visually impaired tennis a try can contact the Tennis Foundation, Great Britain’s leading tennis charity. It is one of the fastest growing disability sports with participation thriving around the country.
Asked what she would say to anyone considering giving it a go, Large said:
“It is a fantastic sport both competitively and socially for any age. It’s a great form of exercise with an amazing group of people – give it a go!”
You can learn more about VI tennis or find a session near you on the Tennis Foundation website or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
QUICK FACTS: Visually Impaired Tennis
- One of the fastest growing disability sports
- Ambitions for it to become a future Paralympic sport
- Adapted from the full court version of tennis to a smaller court, marked out with lower nets and tactile lines
- Uses an audible ball so players can hear it bounce
- Players compete in different categories, with B1 having the greatest degree of sight loss
- Depending on a player’s category they are allowed between one and three bounces of the ball
- Competitions are fun and friendly and take place regionally and nationally throughout the year!
- If you have any questions email email@example.com or join the Blind Tennis UK Facebook group and ask other players!