Hammersmith tennis player Rachel Morgan has won a national tennis title for the second time, defending her title at the National Visually Impaired Tennis Championships in Loughborough.
Morgan, who competes in the B1 (blind) category for players with the greatest degree of sight loss, beat off the challenges of players from around the country losing only one game throughout the tournament.
Speaking after the event, Morgan said:
“It still feels surreal to be a twice national champion! This year’s tournament has been an amazing experience and it has been wonderful to see new young people coming into our sport.”
Morgan, who trains at the National Tennis Centre in Roehampton, is the world number one ranked female B1 player despite only having been playing for two years.
“I was particularly attracted to tennis as it is an adaptation of a sighted sport in which there are many opportunities to train and compete, but also there is a wonderful community in which I have made lots of new friends” Morgan said.
“In such a short time of playing tennis I have won several regional titles, two national titles and have been incredibly fortunate to have become the world no.1 in the B1 (blind) category.
“In the future I would love to see our sport gain Paralympic status, and I would love to be able to represent ParalympicsGB. In the more immediate future I would love to defend my world no.1 spot should I be fortunate enough to be selected again for the Great Britain team”.
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, Morgan said:
“I would say to anyone who believes they cannot play tennis owing to their visual impairment to pick up a racket and give it a go! It is completely inclusive and there is a great freedom that comes with running around the court. You’ll never know how many friends you would make and where it could take you!”
You can learn more about VI tennis or find a session near you on the Tennis Foundation website or by emailing email@example.com.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or join the Blind Tennis UK Facebook group and ask other players!