What's it all about?
Maybe you’ve hit the court IRL or on your console for a little serve, volley, rally and SMASH action! If you love intense, nail-biting, energetic battles of back-and-forth racquet play, you have to check out wheelchair tennis!
How it's played
The teams: Teams of two players compete in the doubles and mixed doubles events. Otherwise, wheelchair tennis is an individual sport, so competing for gold is done alone!
The match: There are six games per set and three sets per match. First to four points wins the game, first to win six games wins the set. Two sets out of three wins the match!
The equipment: You need tennis balls, a racquet and a court with a net. Specially designed wheelchairs are used to help with more stability for better playing.
The play: Start with a strong serve, then return the ball back over the net. The ball should land within the inside lines for singles and outside lines for doubles. Make fewer mistakes than your opponent to win (check out the photos below)!
The points: Get points when your opponent can’t return the ball back over the net. One point is worth 15, two points is 30 and three points is 40.
The athletes: Wheelchair tennis players need high energy and strength for long periods of time. They also need some serious control of their wheelchairs during play.
Did you know: The rules are pretty much exactly the same as Olympic tennis except the ball is allowed to bounce twice before a player hits it back over the net. As long as the first bounce is in bounds, the second bounce can land outside the lines.
Things to watch for
- Has all of the same rules as singles tennis but there are two players per team on each side of the court — one serving or in the back and one playing in the front closer to the net.
Quad and open
- Athletes with impairments to their lower limbs will compete in the open division and athletes who have impairments to both lower and upper limbs will compete in the quad division.
- Players in the quad division may use assistive gear like powered wheelchairs for example.
- When a ball has been hit high into the air, a player will return it with an overhead motion called a smash.
- This is a powerful move that is very hard to return!