As the temperatures finally started to soar at Wimbledon, the countdown to the first wheelchair singles match to be played at The Championships became ever closer and the excitement reached fever pitch at Tennis Foundation Towers (also known as the National Tennis Centre!).
After a tough night for the Home Nations at Euro 2016, tennis provided some solace as two epic five-setters featuring Messrs Murray and Federer entertained the crowds on Centre Court warming everyone up for the stars of wheelchair tennis starting at 11am tomorrow on courts 16 and 17.
In action will be two of our medallists from London 2012, Jordanne Whiley and Lucy Shuker, who won the first ever Paralympic medal in women’s wheelchair tennis and have been in demand all week with the country’s media. The legacy from those incredible home Games lives on with the number of disabled people playing tennis growing around the country. The Tennis Foundation invested heavily to capitalise on the inspiration that gripped a nation supporting venues and coaches with funding, training, equipment and advice to ensure they made their existing tennis sessions fully inclusive, as well as setting up bespoke ones for specific versions of the game such as wheelchair, deaf, learning disability and visually impaired.
If you think your last knock about at the local park was tough, try playing a game without being able to see the ball and just listening for it to bounce to gauge where to swing! If you’ve never seen visually impaired tennis being played before, head to YouTube to check out some amazing videos.
We know the huge mental and physical health benefits, as well as the social ones, playing tennis can bring and we’re now supporting over 220 venues to be more inclusive and accessible. No doubt many of their regular participants will be tuning into the BBC Red Button tomorrow ready to be wowed by the world’s best on the biggest stage of all.