Access to content

Wheelchair tennis

Une joueuse de tennis fauteuil japonaise réalise son service

Invented in 1976, and first contested at the Barcelona Paralympic Games in 1992, wheelchair tennis is an especially popular sport. It is now played at four Grand Slam tournaments and 150 specific International Tennis Federation (ITF) tournaments the world over. Like in the able-bodied game, players compete for world ranking points.  

Controlling the wheelchair is an essential skill for Paralympic tennis players, who must quickly turn it around a point to get in position to return the ball and cover the entire court. 

Brief overview of the rules 

Wheelchair tennis follows the rules of able-bodied tennis with one key exception: the ball is allowed to bounce twice before the player hits it back. 

Athletes are divided into two categories: the ‘Open’ Class is for athletes with permanent impairment of one or both legs, but with normal arm function, and the ‘Quad’ Class is for athletes with additional restrictions in the playing arm, which limits the ability to handle the racquet and manoeuvre the wheelchair. 

Eligible impairments 

Paraplegia, quadriplegia and equivalent, lower limb competing with prosthesis and equivalent, physical disabilities limiting movement. 

International federation 

International Tennis Federation (ITF): 

© Raphael Dias/Getty Images