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These wheels keep on turning

With DLTA hosting the World Team Cup regional qualifiers from today, here’s a beginner’s guide to wheelchair tennis.

sports Updated: Feb 16, 2012 01:46 IST

With DLTA hosting the World Team Cup regional qualifiers from today, here’s a beginner’s guide to wheelchair tennis.

Qualification
Wheelchair tennis is one of the forms of tennis adapted for those who have disabilities in their lower bodies. Players can compete in three categories - men’s, ladies and quads. Each category has singles and doubles events. Quad is a category for athletes with quadriplegia. Players in this category can hold racquets taped to the hand and use electric-powered wheelchairs.

Rules
The court size, balls, racquets are same as tennis with two exceptions — Use of specially designed wheelchairs and the ball can bounce twice. How it all began Started in 1976 thanks to Brad Parks’ efforts. It was introduced at the 1988 Seoul Paralympic Games as a demonstration event. In the 1992 Barcelona Summer Paralympics, it acquired the status of full-fledged competition.

Top stars

Esther Vergeer
(Netherlands): The 30-year-old has won 39 Slams, 22 year-end championships and five Paralympics titles combining singles and doubles. She has been the top women’s player since 1999 and has lost only one singles match since 2003.

Maikel Scheffers
(Netherlands): The 29-year-old has won six Slams and two Masters titles. He also won a bronze in the 2008 Paralympics in Beijing and is currently ranked No. 1 in the men’s category.

These wheels keep on turning
Tournaments & tour
The ITF wheelchair tour has many grades — The Masters Series (Grand Slams and the Wheelchair Tennis Masters). In the Masters meet, only the top-eight players can participate. The second level is Super Series (five tournaments). The other three categories are known as ITF 1, 2 and 3. The World Team Cup is an international team event held annually.