Now backed by both the U.S. Tennis Association and the International Tennis Federation, this is a big year for wheelchair tennis. The sport was originated 35 years ago by Brad Parks, who was paralyzed in a skiing accident. He decided to try tennis, and now the sport is gaining popularity nationally and internationally.
Culminating from competitions held across the country, the wheelchair tennis championship is held in St. Louis, Missouri.
The season started with the USTA/ ITF Southwest Desert Classic in February in Tucson and continues through August across the nation, from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, to Grand Rapids, Michigan, and Beaverton, Oregon. Check the 2011 USTA ITF/NEC Tournament Schedule to catch a few matches near you.
Even if you don’t follow tennis, you know when you hear “Flushing Meadows” that the subject is the little round ball on a very fast court. The U.S. Open, held annually at Flushing Meadows, Queens, N.Y., at summer’s end is one of the country’s premier sporting events.
But occurring concurrently is another major tennis competition that’s growing every year: the U.S. Open Wheelchair Championships, which will be held for the third year at the Dwight Davis Tennis Center in St. Louis, from Aug. 30 through Sept. 5.
Wheelchair tennis doesn’t require special courts; the matches take place at existing facilities. But there can be unexpected glitches. Not all facilities are wheelchair accessible. Amramp has supplied organizers with temporary rentals, eliminating the cost of installing permanent wheelchair ramps. Amramp rents to individuals as well: whether to recover from an injury or to make your home more welcoming over the holidays. Amramp’s patent-pending steel, mesh platform wheelchair ramps can be rented for a day, a week, or longer.
Amramp has installed ramps for the Wheelchair Tennis Championships in St. Louis for the past two years because not all the courts were accessible. Mary Buschmann, executive director of USTA Missouri Valley, said Amramp was great to work with. “They show up early; they ask good questions; and they know what it takes to make a place accessible,” she said of Amramp.
Wheelchair ramps are necessary not only for players but also spectators. Many disabled people who take part in other sports often attend wheelchair tennis events.
Tennis is a sport almost anyone is willing to try, so its popularity with people in wheelchairs will continue to increase. The USTA sponsors collegiate wheelchair tennis competitions and urges college students to lobby for wheelchair tennis at their campuses. Here again, accessibility could be a problem.
Sports should be accessible to everyone.
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