Eastbourne’s Callum Lock won a national tennis title for the fourth time, defending his title at the National Visually Impaired Tennis Championships in Loughborough.
Lock, who trains with Defiant Sports’ Eastbourne Sound Tennis group at Eastbourne Sports Park, competes in the B4/B5 category for players with a good level of partial sight and beat off the challenges of players from around the country to claim the trophy. Lock then teamed up with fellow Sussex player Chris Baily to retain their men’s doubles title.
Speaking after the event, Lock said:
“I really looked forward to playing in this year’s nationals trying to retain my titles again. I had a lot of fun playing but it was really hard this year! It makes me feel really good to win, knowing that I still have a high level of play. My focus for the future is to keep having fun and not get stressed when I drop a point.”
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.
Lock got involved in visually impaired tennis when he was looking for a new hobby, and he wants to encourage others to give it a go too, saying to anyone considering trying it:
“Have fun and focus on what you do, and just do the best you can. VI tennis has given me confidence, just give it a go and most of all enjoy it, everyone is friendly so just come and play!”
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!