Reigning champions Nikhil Nair, Callum Lock, Paul Ryb, Brenda Cassell and Jan Reynolds are once again among more than 50 entries for the singles and doubles events at the 2016 National Visually Impaired Tennis Championships, which takes place at the National Tennis Centre, London on Saturday 15th and Sunday 16th October.
Many of the players have enjoyed success in at least one of the five Tennis Foundation Regional Visually Impaired Tennis Series tournaments held in Sutton, Edgbaston, Newcastle, Cambridge and York this year.
For the second year in a row the National Championships will also include the National Visually Impaired Tennis Awards, which will honour players and personalities in this rapidly expanding and increasingly popular adaptation of tennis.
Nair, runner-up in 2014 in the B1 singles event for players who are blind, returns to try and defend the National title he won in 2015 after finishing runner-up in three of this year’s regional events and also winning singles titles in Newcastle and York.
Once again the B1 singles and doubles will be mixed events open to men and women, while men’s and women’s singles titles will also be contested across the B2, B3 and B4 categories of visual impairment.
Ryb and Reynolds have won men’s and women’s singles titles at the National Championships for the last three years. However, with participation numbers rising sharply at visually impaired tennis sessions supported by the Tennis Foundation and other local organisations, they are likely to face tough opposition once again.
James Currie and Lock have both won more than one singles title in their various events at this year’s regional series of tournaments and will be among the players to look out for in the men’s draws.
In the women’s events, Cassell, Sarah Fortescue and Rosine Pybus have also claimed more than one singles titles at this year’s series of regional events and will be hoping they can translate that form into success at the National Championships.
Visually impaired tennis is adapted from the full court version of tennis to a smaller court, marked out with lower nets and using an audible ball so you can hear it bounce. Depending on a player’s degree of sight they may have between one and three bounces of the ball before returning it back their opponent.