The Australian Wheelchair Tennis season is set to host some of the world’s best local and international players as they prepare for the prestigious Australian Open.
Over the next five months, Tennis Australia is rolling out a range of international, national and social wheelchair tennis events set to increase awareness, participation and international experience for current and aspiring players.
Over the weekend, the UNIQLO Wheelchair Tennis Tour commenced in Canberra with Aussies Keegan Oh-Chee (NSW) and Janine Watson (Qld) taking out the inaugural Canberra Wheelchair Tennis Open titles.
Tennis Australia Wheelchair Tournaments Coordinator Holly Tawse said the events are vital to providing players of all levels and abilities exposure to professional tournaments.
“Creating tournaments provides a valuable platform to increase awareness of the sport in communities and hopefully encourages people of all abilities to get involved,” Tawse said.
“Demand for wheelchair tennis continues to grow, thanks to a bigger investment in the sport and the popularity of Paralympic gold medallist Dylan Alcott.
“Off the back of this success, Tennis Australia has increased the amount of competitive and social tournaments run to help create opportunities and provide pathways for people of all ability levels to get involved.
“Tennis Australia also collaborates with the International Tennis Federation to help bring international level tournaments to the country, which helps provide our elite athletes with the best preparation leading into the Australian Open.”
Wheelchair tennis events, including the UNIQLO Wheelchair Tennis Tour, Australian Nationals and, Fast4 social tournaments, Run & Roll and Come and Try days will be hosted between September 2017 and February 2018.
Australian wheelchair tennis fast facts
- An increase in Australia from three to 33 weekly junior wheelchair tennis players since 2015/16
- Two new state Wheelchair Development Hubs developed for wheelchair tennis players and their families to connect, socialise and play (one in Victoria and one in NSW)
- Twenty new sport wheelchairs have been purchased to be part of the National Wheelchair Loan Program
- 37 new specialised Wheelchair Development Coaches identified to help boost the sport
- Through tournament and player development, Australian representatives in the ITF Junior Wheelchair Tennis rankings has risen from one to eight junior players
- 2016 was the first time the Australian National Wheelchair Tennis Championships fielded players in all four divisions including men’s, women’s, quads and juniors
- Ten new wheelchair tennis tournaments and competitions have been developed for 2017
- International Tennis Federation (ITF) wheelchair tennis tournaments are run across six tiers, ITF Futures, ITF 3, 2 and 1 Series, ITF Super Series and Grand Slams
- In 2016 The UNIQLO Wheelchair Tennis Tour consisted of more than 150 tournaments in over 40 countries. Total prize money for the tour in 2016 was over $2 million.
- The Australian Wheelchair Summer Series consists of three ITF events, Sydney International, Melbourne Open and Australian Open.
2017/18 Wheelchair Tournaments Schedule
|29 September-1 October 2017||Canberra Wheelchair Tennis Open||ITF Futures||Canberra Tennis Centre, ACT||Jessica McMahon
Wheelchair Sports NSW
|14-15 October 2017||Coolum Classic||Australian Money Tournament (AMT)||Coolum Tennis Club, Sunshine Coast, QLD||Andrew Ash|
|30 October-1 November 2017||Metropolitan Wheelchair Tennis Open||ITF Futures||City Community Tennis Centre, Sydney, NSW||Jessica McMahon|
|3-5 November 2017||NSW Wheelchair Tennis Open||ITF Futures||Beaton Park, Wollongong, NSW||Jessica McMahon|
|17 November 2017||TennisFest||Run & Roll Fast4 Social||Playford Tennis Centre, Adelaide, SA||Egon Loh|
|17–19 November 2017||The Australian National Wheelchair Championships
|National Championships||National Tennis Centre, Melbourne, VIC||Holly Tawse|
|16 December 2017||Christmas Run & Roll Social||Run & Roll Fast4 Social||Hume Tennis and Community Centre, Craigieburn, VIC||Tim Connelly
Director Complete Tennis Services
|1-3 December 2017||Key Employment Northern NSW Wheelchair Tennis Tournament||AMT||Harbour Tennis Academy, Coffs Harbour, NSW||Allan Pade
|6-7 January 2018||Kawana Wheelchair Tennis Open||AMT||Kawana Tennis Club, Sunshine Coast, QLD||Dean Buckland|
|9-13 January 2018||Sydney International Wheelchair Tennis Open||ITF Super Series||Blacktown Tennis Centre/Sydney Olympic Park Tennis Centre, Sydney, NSW||Holly Tawse|
|16-20 January 2018||Melbourne Wheelchair Tennis Open||ITF 1 Series||Hume Tennis and Community Centre, Craigieburn, Victoria||Tim Connelly
Director Complete Tennis Services
|24-27 January 2018||Australian Open||Grand Slam||Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Victoria||Holly Tawse|
|24-25 February 2018||Grafton Wheelchair Tennis Tournament||AMT||Grafton City Tennis Club, Grafton, NSW||Ayesha Beckman
President Grafton City Tennis Club
For more information on how you can get involved, visit tennis.com.au/wheelchair
By Tennis Australia